Unemployment and underemployment statistics for April - June 2013

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for April - June 2013) released today (July 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3.4% in March - May 2013 to 3.3% in April - June 2013. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.6% in the two periods.

     Comparing April - June 2013 with March - May 2013, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the warehousing and support activities for transportation, decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, and food and beverage service activities sectors. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the transportation sector, while a decrease was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.

     Total employment increased by around 9 600 from 3 735 500 in March - May 2013 to 3 745 100 in April - June 2013. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 7 500 from 3 869 700 to 3 877 200.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 2 100 from 134 200 in March - May 2013 to 132 100 in April - June 2013. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 800 from 63 200 to 61 400.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained tight in the second quarter of 2013, thanks to the prevailing strength on the domestic front. Total employment grew further to another record high, more than absorbing the concurrent expansion in the labour force. After discounting for seasonality, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 3.3%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Labour demand is likely to stay firm on the back of a resilient domestic sector, thereby helping to keep the unemployment rate at a relatively low level in the near term. Nevertheless, we will remain vigilant to the external uncertainties, notably the pace at which the United States quantitative easing measures will taper and the evolving global economic situation, and their potential impacts on the local economy and labour market."

     "With the entry of fresh graduates and school leavers into the labour market, the unemployment rate for those aged 15-24 as a whole has risen by 0.7 percentage point to 9.6%, which is slightly lower than the level of 9.7% in the corresponding period last year. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers," he added.

     In June 2013, the number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department stood at 100 188, up by 7.8% over 92 945 in the same period last year.

     Since January this year, the Labour Department has organised 10 large-scale job fairs with 300 participating organisations offering over 22 300 vacancies from different industries. Training bodies also took part in these fairs to introduce job-training opportunities and receive applications on the spot. In addition, the Department will stage another large-scale job fair in Wan Chai on August 14 during which 50 organisations will offer more than 2 800 vacancies from the retail, catering, property management industries etc for application by job-seekers on the spot.

     Upon release of the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) examination results, some fresh secondary school graduates may wish to enter the labour market or decide not to pursue studies. "There are quite a number of vacancies in the labour market suitable for secondary school graduates who do not have relevant working experience," Mr Cheung said.

     To assist fresh secondary school leavers to enter the labour market, the Labour Department has also launched a special programme entitled "Career Get-Set-Go" from May to August this year to help them grasp the latest employment information and devise a career plan.

     For young school leavers aged 15 to 24 with educational attainment at sub-degree level or below, the Youth Employment and Training Programme provides a comprehensive employment platform through the provision of diversified pre-employment and on-the-job training to assist them in enhancing their self-understanding and job aspirations, and enriching their work skills and experience, with a view to improving their employability.

Further Information

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

     The survey for April - June 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 January - March 2013 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2013 will be available by end August 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 April - June 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/Thursday, July 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30