Unemployment and underemployment statistics for August - October 2013

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for August - October 2013) released today (November 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in August - October 2013, same as that in July - September 2013.  The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.5% in the two periods.

     Comparing August - October 2013 with July - September 2013, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the postal and courier activities, and manufacturing sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the insurance, and decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sectors.  As to the underemployment rate, increases were mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, and arts, entertainment and recreation sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector, and the manufacturing sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 2 300 from 3 750 100 in July - September 2013 to 3 747 800 in August - October 2013.  Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 6 400 from 3 884 300 to 3 877 900.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 4 100 from 134 200 in July - September 2013 to 130 100 in August - October 2013.  The number of underemployed persons in August - October 2013 was 56 800, about the same as 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 remained stable on the back of resilient domestic demand.  Although total employment went down mildly further in August - October 2013, it still registered a year-on-year growth at 2.6%.  With the labour force shrinking after the summer holidays by a larger extent over the preceding period when compared to total employment, the number of unemployed persons drifted further lower to 130 100.  The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at a low level of 3.3%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Labour demand can be expected to stay strong in the run-up to the festive season, thereby boding well for labour market conditions in the near term.  Nevertheless, the unsteady pace of recovery in the major advanced economies, as well as the uncertainties stemming from the US monetary policy and fiscal issues, continue to overshadow the global economic conditions.  We will stay alert and monitor these external developments closely.  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.

     "In October 2013, the number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department increased by 10.7% from 98 244 in the previous month to 108 718, and up by 13.1% over 96 098 in the same period last year," he added.

     Since this January, the Labour Department has organised 14 large-scale job fairs with 392 participating organisations offering over 29 500 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 large-scale job fair in the North District in January 2014.

Further information

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

     The survey for August - October 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 August - October 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, November 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30