Unemployment and underemployment statistics for December 2012 - February 2013

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for December 2012 - February 2013) released today (March 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.4% in December 2012 - February 2013, same as that in November 2012 - January 2013. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.6% in November 2012 - January 2013 to 1.5% in December 2012 - February 2013.

     Comparing December 2012 - February 2013 with November 2012 - January 2013, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the transportation and construction sectors, while decreases were mainly observed in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector, and professional and business services sector. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the social work activities and construction sectors.

     Total employment increased by around 6 000 from 3 706 000 in November 2012 - January 2013 to 3 712 000 in December 2012 - February 2013. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 8 600 from 3 826 500 to 3 835 100.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 600 from 120 500 in November 2012 - January 2013 to 123 100 in December 2012 - February 2013. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 1 700 from 60 300 to 58 600.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained largely stable recently in tandem with solid labour demand during the festive period on entering 2013. Total employment grew modestly further by around 6 000 to a historic high of 3 712 000 in December 2012 - February 2013. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held unchanged at 3.4%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The buoyant domestic consumption and inbound tourism should continue to fuel labour demand, thus helping to keep the labour market conditions stable. Nevertheless, as business activity generally subsides after the Lunar New Year and the effect of employers' customary annual review on staffing position has yet to fully emerge, we need to remain vigilant and continue to monitor development in the labour market closely. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers and enhance its employment service in relatively remote districts."

     Since January this year, the Labour Department has so far organised three large-scale job fairs in North District and Wan Chai respectively with 148 participating organisations offering some 10 300 vacancies from different industries. Training bodies also took part in these fairs to introduce job-training opportunities and accept applications on the spot. The Labour Department will organise another two large-scale job fairs in Tung Chung on May 15 and 16.

Further Information

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

     The survey for December 2012 - February 2013 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 74 000 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 October - December 2012 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2013 will be available by end May 2013. 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 December 2012 - February 2013 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (3), Census and Statistics Department (Tel.: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; e-mail: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Monday, March 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30