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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for February - April 2013

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for February - April 2013) released today (May 20) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.5% in February - April 2013, same as that in January - March 2013. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.6% in the two periods.

     Comparing February - April 2013 with January - March 2013, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the retail, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the insurance, wholesale and construction sectors. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector, while a decrease was mainly seen in the cleaning and similar activities sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 1 900 from 3 720 200 in January - March 2013 to 3 718 300 in February - April 2013. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 1 000 from 3 852 700 to 3 851 700.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 000 from 132 500 in January - March 2013 to 133 500 in February - April 2013. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 700 from 61 100 to 61 800.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market held largely stable lately. Total employment shrank slightly in February - April 2013 after six straight months of increase. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at a relatively low level of 3.5%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "A new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers will enter the labour market in the coming few months. Coupled with a still rather cautious hiring sentiment, there may be some pressure on the unemployment rate. Yet, the resilience of domestic demand should provide some cushion to the overall employment situation. We will stay alert and monitor developments in the local 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 organised five large-scale job fairs with 202 participating organisations offering some 15 500 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 three large-scale job fairs in Tuen Mun from June 19 to 21.

     Additionally, to assist secondary school graduates of this year to enter the labour market, the Labour Department has launched a special programme "Career Get-Set-Go" from May to August this year to help this year's secondary school graduates find suitable work through a series of tailor-made activities.

     The Department will canvass job vacancies suitable for secondary school graduates and organise a number of large-scale and district-based job fairs at which job-seekers can have job interview with the recruiting employers on the spot. A dedicated webpage has been set up to provide information on the activities of the special programme as well as other employment market information. The webpage also lists job vacancies with no experience requirement for secondary school graduates to apply.

Further Information

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

     The survey for February - April 2013 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 75 000 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 (

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for February - April 2013 can be directed to the General Household Survey Section (3), Census and Statistics Department (Tel: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; email:

Ends/Monday, May 20, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30


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