Unemployment and underemployment statistics for May - July 2012

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for May - July 2012) released today (August 16) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in May - July 2012, same as that in April - June 2012.  The underemployment rate increased from 1.4% in April - June 2012 to 1.5% in May - July 2012.

     Comparing May - July 2012 with April - June 2012, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the social work activities and real estate sectors, while decreases were more apparent in the accommodation services, and repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sectors.  As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly seen in the retail sector.

     Total employment increased by around 4 300 from 3 671 400 in April - June 2012 to 3 675 700 in May - July 2012.  Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 7 300 from 3 796 900 to 3 804 200.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 3 000 from 125 500 in April - June 2012 to 128 500 in May - July 2012.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 2 000 from 54 600 to 56 600.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "Thanks to the resilient performance of the domestic sector, the labour market held tight despite a tepid overall economic growth.  Total employment rose to another record high of 3 675 700 in May - July 2012.  With the increase in labour supply mostly absorbed by newly created jobs, the number of unemployed persons only rose by around 3 000 to 128 500.  After seasonal adjustment, the unemployment rate stayed low at 3.2% over the period."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The labour market remained in a state of full employment.  It is noteworthy that the recent private sector vacancy figures still demonstrate a generally positive hiring sentiment among employers.  Nevertheless, the employment situation in the near term still hinges on whether the pace of job creation is sufficient to absorb the influx of fresh graduates and school leavers into the labour market.  Meanwhile, downside risks in the external environment continue to loom large amid the evolving Eurozone debt crisis, adding considerable uncertainties to the overall economic outlook in Hong Kong.  We will continue to closely monitor development."

     "The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive and free employment service to job-seekers," Mr Cheung added.

     Eleven large-scale job fairs were held from January to August 2012, including the recent "Hong Kong International Airport Job Expo 2012" jointly co-organised with the Airport Authority Hong Kong from August 3 to 5.  A total of 336 organisations conducted on-the-spot recruitment in the job fairs, offering over 29 000 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 in different locations from time to time, canvassing vacancies from different industries for application by job-seekers on-the-spot.  The Department will organise another six large-scale job fairs in Tsuen Wan and Sham Shui Po in October and November this year.

Further information

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

     The survey for May - July 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/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001).

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for May - July 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, August 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30