Unemployment and underemployment statistics for April - June 2012

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for April - June 2012) released today (July 19) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in April - June 2012, same as that in March - May 2012.  The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing April - June 2012 with March - May 2012, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the construction and manufacturing sectors, while increases were more apparent in the food and beverage service activities, and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sectors.  As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the cleaning and similar activities sector, offsetting an increase in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.

     Total employment increased by around 8 800 from 3 662 600 in March - May 2012 to 3 671 400 in April - June 2012.  Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 11 000 from 3 785 900 to 3 796 900.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 100 from 123 400 in March - May 2012 to 125 500 in April - June 2012.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 600 from 54 000 to 54 600.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained tight and in a state of full employment.  Total employment grew further by around 8 800 to a record high of 3 671 400 in April - June 2012.  As the new jobs helped to absorb most of the additional labour supply, the number of unemployed persons only rose slightly by around 2 100 to 125 500.  The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.2%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "As the new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers would continue to boost labour supply in the next few months, the employment situation will depend on whether the momentum of job generation can sustain and absorb these newcomers.  Labour demand in the corporate sector stays buoyant as reflected by the favourable job vacancy trend.  However, the potential impact on business condition and hiring sentiment by the evolving Eurozone debt crisis and lacklustre performance of major economies remain a major cause of concern.  We will stay vigilant and closely monitor development."

      "The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive and free employment service to job-seekers.  Ten large-scale job fairs were held from January to July 2012, with a total of 283 organisations conducting on-the-spot recruitment in the job fairs, offering over 23 000 vacancies.  Ten training bodies also took part in two of the job fairs to receive job-training applications.  The Labour Department will continue to organise large-scale job fairs from time to time, canvassing vacancies from different industries for application by job-seekers on-the-spot.  The Department and the Airport Authority Hong Kong will co-organise a 'Hong Kong International Airport Job Expo 2012' from August 3 to 5 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.  Over 50 employers will take part in the Job Expo," 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 2012 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 72 000 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 2012 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2012 will be available by end August 2012.  Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/labour/index_cd_B1050001_dt_detail.jsp).

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for April - June 2012 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel.: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; e-mail: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, July 19, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30