Unemployment and underemployment statistics for July - September 2013

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for July - September 2013) released today (October 17) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in July - September 2013, same as that in June - August 2013.  The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.5% in the two periods.

     Comparing July - September 2013 with June - August 2013, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the information and communications, and social work activities sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the construction and accommodation services sectors.  As to the underemployment rate, increases were mainly observed in the food and beverage service activities, and construction sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the arts, entertainment and recreation, and cleaning and similar activities sectors.

     Total employment decreased by around 1 100 from 3 751 200 in June - August 2013 to 3 750 100 in July - September 2013.  Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 2 800 from 3 887 100 to 3 884 300.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 1 600 from 135 800 in June - August 2013 to 134 200 in July - September 2013.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 400 from 58 400 in June - August 2013 to 57 000 in July - September 2013.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market stayed tight in the third quarter of 2013.  While total employment and labour force fell back after four consecutive months of increase, this was partly attributable to the return of summer workers to school.  The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at a low level of 3.3%.  Total employment sustained a remarkable year-on-year growth at 2.7%, signifying continuous full employment and translating into a cumulative increase of 100 000 jobs over the past year."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "In the light of the generally positive hiring attitude in the corporate sector, the unemployment rate will likely stay at relatively low levels in the near term.  Yet the external environment remains unsteady, with uncertainties arising from the United States' future monetary policy direction and its political brinkmanship over fiscal issues clouding over the global economic prospects.  We will remain vigilant in monitoring the potential impact of such external development on our local economy and labour market.  The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment support to job-seekers and enhance its employment service in relatively remote districts."

     Since this January, the Labour Department has organised 12 large-scale job fairs with 352 participating organisations offering over 26 800 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 Cheung Sha Wan on November 7 and 8.

Further information

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

     The survey for July - September 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 April - June 2013 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2013 will be available by end November 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 July - September 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, October 17, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30