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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for July - September 2012

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for July - September 2012) released today (October 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.2% in June - August 2012 to 3.3% in July - September 2012.  The underemployment rate decreased from 1.7% in June - August 2012 to 1.6% in July - September 2012.

     Comparing July - September 2012 with June - August 2012, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the insurance, manufacturing and retail sectors.  As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the construction, and food and beverage service activities sectors.

     Total employment decreased by around 12 400 from 3 671 300 in June - August 2012 to 3 658 900 in July - September 2012.  Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 11 200 from 3 803 000 to 3 791 800.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 300 from 131 600 in June - August 2012 to 132 900 in July - September 2012.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 4 200 from 63 400 to 59 200.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "Total employment declined for the second consecutive month by around 12 400 to 3 658 900 in July - September 2012.  Nevertheless, as this was largely offset by a concurrent decline in the labour force, the number of unemployed persons rose only by around 1 300 to 132 900.  The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate went up slightly by 0.1 percentage point to 3.3%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The employment outlook would become more uncertain amid more cautious hiring sentiment and the moderation in domestic demand in recent months.  The downside risks in the external environment would also overshadow the Hong Kong economy.  As such, there might be some upward pressure on the unemployment rate in the coming months.  We will monitor development closely.  The Labour Department will also continue its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers."

     The Department held 14 large-scale job fairs from January to October 2012.  Altogether, 393 organisations conducted on-the-spot recruitment in the job fairs, offering over 33 500 vacancies.  Ten training bodies also took part in two of the job fairs to receive job-training applications.

     The Department will continue to organise large-scale job fairs in different locations from time to time, canvassing vacancies from different industries for application by job-seekers on-the-spot.  It will provide appropriate employment service to job-seekers with various needs, including promoting employment programmes for different vulnerable groups and proactively adopting a multi-pronged approach comprising measures on all fronts to facilitate employment of vulnerable groups of job-seekers.

Further information

     The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.

     The survey for July - September 2012 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 71 000 persons, selected in accordance with a scientifically designed sampling scheme to represent the population of Hong Kong.

     Data on labour force characteristics were obtained from the survey by interviewing each member aged 15 or over in the sampled households.

     In the survey, the definitions used in measuring unemployment and underemployment follow closely those recommended by the International Labour Organisation.

     Detailed analysis of labour force characteristics is given in the "Quarterly Report on General Household Survey" which is published four times a year.  The current issue of the publication covering the quarter April - June 2012 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2012 will be available by end November 2012.  Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for July - September 2012 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel.: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; e-mail:

Ends/Thursday, October 18, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30


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