According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for November 2013 - January 2014) released today (February 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3.2% in October - December 2013 to 3.1% in November 2013 - January 2014. The underemployment rate also decreased from 1.4% in October - December 2013 to 1.3% in November 2013 - January 2014.
Comparing November 2013 - January 2014 with October - December 2013, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the food and beverage service activities, and postal and courier activities sectors. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the construction, and cleaning and similar activities sectors.
Total employment increased by around 4 400 from 3 760 400 in October - December 2013 to 3 764 800 in November 2013 - January 2014. Over the same period, the labour force decreased by around 1 100 from 3 878 800 to 3 877 700.
The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 5 500 from 118 400 in October - December 2013 to 112 900 in November 2013 - January 2014. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 4 000 from 55 500 to 51 500.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market further tightened up in November 2013 - January 2014. With vibrant consumption in the run-up to the Lunar New Year, total employment hit a fresh new high while the number of unemployed persons declined for the fifth consecutive month. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down to 3.1%, the lowest level since December 1997 - February 1998. The underemployment rate likewise fell to a 16-year low of 1.3%."
"Youth employment has improved in tandem. The unemployment rate for youths aged 15-24 went down by 1.3 percentage points from 8.8% in October - December 2013 to 7.5% in November 2013 - January 2014. Within this particular group, the unemployment rate for those aged 15-19 decreased by 1.0 percentage point to 10.5%, while the unemployment rate for those aged 20-24 also went down by 1.4 percentage points to 7.0%. To promote youth employment, the Government will continue to provide employment support and training services on all fronts through the Labour Department, the Vocational Training Council, Employees Retraining Board, etc," he added.
On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Although employers normally review their annual staffing position after the Lunar New Year, with domestic economic activity staying on an expansion path, the unemployment rate is expected to remain low in the near term. Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor the external development and the potential impact on our local labour market. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment support to job-seekers and enhance its employment service in relatively remote districts."
The Labour Department will continue to hold large-scale job fairs in different districts to facilitate easy access to employment information. Apart from the North District Recruitment and Training Expo co-organised with other organisations and held in Fanling on January 10, 2014, the Department will hold two more large-scale job fairs in Mong Kok on March 5 and 6. A total of 86 participating employers will offer over 5 600 vacancies for application by job-seekers on the spot.
The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.
The survey for November 2013 - January 2014 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 75 000 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 July - September 2013 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2013 will be available by end February 2014. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001).
Enquiries for labour force statistics for November 2013 - January 2014 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (3), Census and Statistics Department (Tel: 2887 5508; fax: 2508 1501; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ends/Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:31