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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for May - July 2013

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for May - July 2013) released today (August 19) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in May - July 2013, same as that in April - June 2013.  The underemployment rate decreased from 1.6% in April - June 2013 to 1.5% in May - July 2013.

     Comparing May - July 2013 with April - June 2013, an increase in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) was mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector, while a decrease was mainly seen in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector.  As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, and cleaning and similar activities sectors.

     Total employment increased by around 4 400 from 3 745 100 in April - June 2013 to 3 749 500 in May - July 2013.  Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 6 300 from 3 877 200 to 3 883 500.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 900 from 132 100 in April - June 2013 to 134 000 in May - July 2013.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 2 600 from 61 400 to 58 800.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained in a state of almost full employment in May - July 2013.  Total employment grew steadily further to another record high and was able to absorb about two-thirds of the additional labour supply. After discounting for seasonal factors, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed low at 3.3%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Labour demand will likely stay firm on the back of resilient domestic demand, thereby leading to broadly stable labour market conditions in the near term.  Notwithstanding this, there are still considerable uncertainties overcasting the global economic outlook, in particular the future direction of the US monetary policy and the recent slowdown in the emerging economies.  We will stay alert to these developments and closely monitor their potential impacts on the local economy and labour market.

     "The employment situation of fresh graduates and school leavers of the last two years held up rather well.  As high as 92.2% of those aged 15-25 in the labour force who had completed studies in 2011 found employment as at May - July 2013.   As for those who had completed studies in 2012, almost 90% (89.3%) of them have also found employment.  The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers.

     "In July 2013, the number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department increased by 8.4% from 100 188 in the previous month to 108 633, and up by 12.1% over 96 912 in the same period last year," he added.

     After the 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 is a considerable number of vacancies in the labour market suitable for secondary school graduates who do not have any working experience," Mr Cheung said.

     To assist fresh secondary school leavers to enter the labour market, the Labour Department has launched a special programme called "Career Get-Set-Go" from May to August this year to help them grasp the latest employment information and devise a career plan.   Moreover, 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, as well as enriching their work skills and experience with a view to improving their employability.

     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.  The Department will stage another two large-scale job fairs in Tsuen Wan on September 26 and 27 for application by job-seekers on the spot.

Further information

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

     The survey for May - July 2013 covered a sample of some 25 000 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 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 (

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

Ends/Monday, August 19, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30


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