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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for September - November 2013

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for September - November 2013) released today (December 17) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in September - November 2013, same as that in August - October 2013. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.5% in August - October 2013 to 1.4% in September - November 2013.

     Comparing September - November 2013 with August - October 2013, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the transportation and construction sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities, and education sectors. 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 decreased by around 5 100 from 3 747 800 in August - October 2013 to 3 742 700 in September - November 2013. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 8 000 from 3 877 900 to 3 869 900.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 2 900 from 130 100 in August - October 2013 to 127 200 in September - November 2013. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 500 from 56 800 to 55 300.


     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 full employment in September - November 2013. The number of unemployed persons decreased further to 127 200, while total employment registered a year-on-year growth of 2.4% (up by 86 500). The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at a low level of 3.3% since the second quarter of 2013."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "With labour demand likely to hold firm under the vibrant business activity in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year, the unemployment rate can be expected to stay at a relatively low level in the near term. However, we will closely monitor the pace of global economic recovery and the United States' future monetary policy direction, as well as the potential impacts of these external uncertainties on our economy and the local 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."

     In 2013, the Labour Department has organised 14 large-scale job fairs with a total of 392 participating organisations offering over 29 500 vacancies from different industries. Fifteen training bodies also took part in these fairs to introduce job-training programmes and receive applications on the spot.

     The Labour Department will continue to hold large-scale job fairs in different districts to facilitate easy access to employment information. The upcoming one will be the North District Recruitment and Training Expo to be held on January 10, 2014 in Fanling. A total of 57 employers offering some 4 400 vacancies will conduct recruitment on the spot. Six training bodies will take part to provide information on training programmes and to receive applications. There will be thematic talks and skill demonstrations as well.

Further information

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

     The survey for September - November 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 July - September 2013 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2013 will be available by end February 2014. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (

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

Ends/Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30


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