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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for August - October 2012

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for August - October 2012) released today (November 19) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.3% in July - September 2012 to 3.4% in August - October 2012. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.6% in July - September 2012 to 1.5% in August - October 2012.

     Comparing August - October 2012 with July - September 2012, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the accommodation services, transportation and construction sectors. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the construction and wholesale sectors.

     Total employment increased by around 6 000 from 3 658 900 in July - September 2012 to 3 664 900 in August - October 2012. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 4 100 from 3 791 800 to 3 795 900.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 1 900 from 132 900 in July - September 2012 to 131 000 in August - October 2012. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 800 from 59 200 to 57 400.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The pace of job creation decelerated in recent months alongside the continued subdued growth in the economy. Yet, total employment went up modestly in August - October 2012 by around 6 000 from 3 658 900 in July - September 2012 to 3 664 900. Over the same period, the labour force increased by around 4 100 from 3 791 800 to 3 795 900. As a result, the number of unemployed persons decreased by around 1 900 to 131 000. After seasonal adjustment, the unemployment rate went up slightly by 0.1 percentage point to 3.4%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The slowdown in economic growth would continue to weigh on hiring sentiment, thus posing pressure on the employment situation. Besides, the unsettling Eurozone debt crisis and looming US fiscal cliff have added uncertainties to the economic prospects. As such, there might be further upward pressure on the unemployment rate in the period ahead. Yet, the usually more vibrant business activities around the festive periods towards the year-end should render some support to labour demand. We will stay vigilant and monitor development closely. The Labour Department will also continue its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers."

     The Department held 17 large-scale job fairs from January to November 2012. Altogether, 444 organisations conducted on-the-spot recruitment in the job fairs, offering over 37 000 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. It will provide appropriate employment service to job-seekers of different needs, with employment programmes for different vulnerable groups and adopt a multi-pronged approach to facilitate their employment.

Further Information

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

     The survey for August - October 2012 covered a sample of some 23 000 households or 71 000 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 August - October 2012 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel.: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; e-mail:

Ends/Monday, November 19, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30


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