Unemployment and underemployment statistics for December 2013 - February 2014

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for December 2013 - February 2014) released today (March 17) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in December 2013 - February 2014, same as that in November 2013 - January 2014.  The underemployment rate decreased from 1.3% in November 2013 - January 2014 to 1.2% in December 2013 - February 2014.

     Comparing December 2013 - February 2014 with November 2013 - January 2014, an increase in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) was mainly observed in the construction sector, while a decrease was mainly seen in the information and communications sector.  As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the construction sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 32 900 from 3 764 800 in November 2013 - January 2014 to 3 731 900 in December 2013 - February 2014.  Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 33 400 from 3 877 700 to 3 844 300.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in December 2013 - February 2014 was 112 500, about the same as 112 900 in November 2013 - January 2014.  Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 4 600 from 51 500 to 46 900.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained tight in December 2013 - February 2014, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at a 16-year low of 3.1%.  Total employment declined from its historic high in the preceding three-month period, conceivably because business activities returned to a more normal level after its peak in Lunar New Year.  Meanwhile, the underemployment rate edged down further to 1.2%, the lowest level since September - November 1997.

     "Youth employment has improved in tandem.  The unemployment rate for youths aged 15-24 went down from 7.5% in November 2013 - January 2014 to 7.2% in December 2013 - February 2014 (with around 22 500 unemployed).  Within this particular group, the unemployment rate for those aged 15-19 decreased to 10.1%  (with around 4 200 unemployed), while the unemployment rate for those aged 20-24 also went down to 6.8% (with around 18 300 unemployed).  To promote youth employment, the Government will continue to provide employment support and training services on all fronts through the Labour Department, the Vocational Training Council, Employees Retraining Board, etc," he added.

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Looking ahead, the unemployment rate is expected to remain low in the near term on the back of steady growth in domestic demand.  However, we will continue to monitor the external development and the potential impact on our 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."

     The Labour Department will continue to hold large-scale job fairs in different districts to facilitate easy access to employment information.  Apart from two job fairs just held on March 5 and 6 in Mong Kok, the department will hold two more large-scale job fairs in Tung Chung on May 15 and 16 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 December 2013 - February 2014 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 October - December 2013 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2014 will be available by end May 2014.  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 December 2013 - February 2014 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, March 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:31