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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for April - June 2011

     According to the latest labour force statistics released today (July 19) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.5% (provisional figure) in April - June 2011, same as that in March - May 2011.  The underemployment rate declined from 1.9% in March - May 2011 to 1.8% (provisional figure) in April - June 2011.

     Comparing April - June 2011 with March - May 2011, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the construction and insurance sectors, while increases were more apparent in the wholesale, and accommodation and food services sectors.  As for the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the construction sector.

     Total employment increased by around 10 100 from 3 600 500 in March - May 2011 to 3 610 600 (provisional figure) in April - June 2011.  Over the same period, the labour force increased by around 12 100 from 3 735 300 to 3 747 400 (provisional figure).

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 900 from 134 900 in March - May 2011 to 136 800 (provisional figure) in April - June 2011.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 3 400 from 69 600 to 66 200 (provisional figure).


     The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.5% in April - June 2011, same as that in March - May 2011.  The underemployment rate dropped by 0.1 percentage point to 1.8%.

     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "Total employment further increased notably by about 10 100 to a new record high of 3 610 600 in April - June 2011.  Over the same period, the labour force increased by around 12 100 from 3 735 300 to 3 747 400.  The new jobs created helped to absorb most of the additional workforce.  Consequently, the number of unemployed persons rose only slightly by 1 900 during the period.  Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "In the next few months, the labour supply will continue to be affected by the entry of a new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers and also job-seekers induced by the implementation of statutory minimum wage.  The extent to which these newcomers will be absorbed into employment will hinge on the number of new jobs created against the background of a vibrant economy.  However, some elements of uncertainty remain in our external economic environment, in particular the Eurozone debt crisis and weak economic growth in the United States.  We will remain vigilant and closely monitor development.

     "Since April 2010, the number of new private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department has stayed at a high level of about 3 000 per working day on average.  This level has been maintained in July so far."

     In June 2011, the number of private sector vacancies posted by the Labour Department increased by 11.6% from 65 943 in May 2011 to 73 582, and up by 20.0% over 61 302 in the same period last year.  

     Mr Cheung said that the Labour Department would keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive and free employment services to job-seekers.  

     "With the implementation of statutory minimum wage, large-scale job fairs targeted specifically at the sectors likely to be affected were organised in May.  Two job fairs will be held in Tung Chung on July 21 and 22, with 54 participating companies offering about 3 600 vacancies from the retail, catering, property management and aviation logistics/transport industries," he said.  

     "About 85% of the vacancies offered are full-time jobs, with the majority offering a monthly salary ranging from $6,000 to $11,000.  Some 95% of these vacancies require Secondary Five educational level or below, and over 60% of them are open to job-seekers without relevant experience.  

     "The Labour Department will continue to proactively assist job-seekers to find employment, as well as operate employment programmes for different vulnerable groups and adopt a multi-pronged approach to facilitate employment of the vulnerable groups," Mr Cheung added.

Further information

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

     The survey for April - June 2011 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 73 000 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 January - March 2011 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2011 will be available by end August 2011.  Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (

     Enquiries for more detailed labour force statistics for March - May 2011 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; E-mail:

Ends/Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:32


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