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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for June - August 2012

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for June - August 2012) released today (September 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in June - August 2012, same as that in May - July 2012.  The underemployment rate increased from 1.5% in May - July 2012 to 1.7% in June - August 2012.

     Comparing June - August 2012 with May - July 2012, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the warehousing and support activities for transportation, and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sectors, while decreases were mainly observed in the construction and real estate sectors.  As to the underemployment rate, increases were mainly seen in the construction, and food and beverage service activities sectors.

     Total employment decreased by around 4 400 from 3 675 700 in May - July 2012 to 3 671 300 in June - August 2012.  Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 1 200 from 3 804 200 to 3 803 000.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 3 100 from 128 500 in May - July 2012 to 131 600 in June - August 2012.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 6 800 from 56 600 to 63 400.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market conditions held largely stable during the summer period.  While total employment decreased slightly by around 4 400 to 3 671 300 in June - August 2012 after several months of upsurge, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at a low level of 3.2%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The employment situation hinges on the overall economic performance and in particular the pace of job creation in the corporate sector.  While the number of job vacancies is still at a relatively high level, some employers have adopted a more cautious attitude towards staff hiring.  Moreover, increasing downside risks in the external environment will add further uncertainties to the overall economic outlook in Hong Kong.  We will stay alert and monitor development closely.  The Labour Department will also continue its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers."

     The Department held eleven large-scale job fairs from January to August 2012.  Altogether, 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 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.  Three job fairs will be held in Tsuen Wan from October 10 to 12, with 57 employers offering over 4 000 vacancies from the retail, catering, property management and other industries.  Another three more job fairs will be held in Sham Shui Po in November.

     In August 2012, the number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department increased by 12.8% from 96 912 in the previous month to 109 273, and up by 36.1% over 80 315 in the same period last year.

Further Information

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

     The survey for June - August 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 April - June 2012 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2012 will be available by end November 2012.  Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (

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

Ends/Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30


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