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Unemployment and Underemployment Statistics for June - August 2009

     According to the latest labour force statistics released today (September 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 5.4% (provisional figure) in June - August 2009, same as that in May - July 2009.  The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 2.4% (provisional figure for June - August 2009).

     Comparing June - August 2009 with May - July 2009, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the construction; warehousing and support activities for transportation; and real estate sectors, while increases were more apparent in the accommodation services; arts, entertainment and recreation; and wholesale sectors.  As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the construction and warehousing and support activities for transportation sectors, offsetting increases in the education and wholesale sectors.

     Total employment decreased by around 10 000 from 3 505 300 in May - July 2009 to 3 495 300 (provisional figure) in June - August 2009.  Over the same period, the labour force decreased by around 6 900 from 3 719 000 to 3 712 100 (provisional figure).

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 3 000 from 213 800 in May - July 2009 to 216 800 (provisional figure) in June - August 2009.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 400 from 88 600 to 88 200 (provisional figure).


     The labour market has shown signs of stabilisation in recent months, as reflected by the stable seasonally adjusted unemployment rate since April - June 2009.  

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The near-term employment outlook will much depend on the pace of job creation in the economy relative to that in the labour supply.  As the pace of business growth remains uncertain, employers are generally cautious in hiring new hands at this point in time.  Coupled with the relatively slow absorption of newcomers, including fresh graduates and school leavers into the labour market this year, the unemployment rate is expected to remain high in the near term."

     "It is noteworthy that the unemployment situation of the construction sector has continued to ease in recent months.  In particular, the unemployment rate of the decoration and maintenance sub-sector has dropped significantly, accumulating a total decrease of 9 percentage points for four consecutive periods.  It is clear that the Government's efforts to boost employment in the construction sector are bearing fruit."

     "We will continue to monitor closely the labour market situation and canvass suitable vacancies to help job-seekers."

     The Labour Department (LD) will hold large-scale job fairs for the property management industry and the retail industry at the Olympian City II on September 29 and 30, 2009 respectively, offering a total of about 2 000 vacancies.

     In August 2009, LD netted 52 758 vacancies from the private sector, down 17.6% over the same period last year but up 16.1% over July this year.  On average, LD received about 2 500 vacancies per working day.  

Further Information

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

     The survey for June - August 2009 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 74 000 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 report covering the quarter April - June 2009 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2009 will be available by end November 2009.  Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) (

     Print version of the current issue of this publication is available for sale at HK$66 per issue.  Purchase can be done in person at the Publications Unit of the C&SD (Address : 19/F Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai; Tel. : 2582 3025) or through mail order by returning a completed order form which can be downloaded from the C&SD's website (  Print version of this publication is also available for sale online at the Government Bookstore of the Information Services Department (

     Enquiries for more detailed labour force statistics for May - July 2009 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel.: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; E-mail:

Ends/Thursday, September 17, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:31


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