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Unemployment and Underemployment Statistics for February - April 2014

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for February - April 2014) released today (May 19) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in February - April 2014, same as that in January - March 2014. The underemployment rate increased from 1.2% in January - March 2014 to 1.4% in February - April 2014.

     Comparing February - April 2014 with January - March 2014, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, and accommodation services sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the cleaning and similar activities sector, and the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector. As to the underemployment rate, increases were mainly observed in the cleaning and similar activities, and construction sectors.

     Total employment increased by around 3 800 from 3 721 000 in January - March 2014 to 3 724 800 in February - April 2014. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 6 100 from 3 840 100 to 3 846 200.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 300 from 119 100 in January - March 2014 to 121 400 in February - April 2014. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 5 100 from 47 700 to 52 800.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained tight in February - April 2014, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at a 16-year low of 3.1% for the fourth consecutive month. Total employment bounced back mildly and stayed close to the historical high."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "With the local economy poised to expand further at a moderate pace, the labour market is expected to remain steady in the near term. Nevertheless, the pace of global economic recovery remains fluid, while the United States Federal Reserve's tapering course will also bring about uncertainties. We will stay vigilant to these developments for their potential impacts on the local labour market. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment support to job-seekers, and will soon enhance its employment service in Tung Chung and the neighbouring area through the setting up of a job centre."

     "To promote youth employment, the Government will continue to provide employment support and training services on all fronts. The Labour Department has launched a number of pilot projects with employers and various organisations under the Youth Employment and Training Programme this year. These include the first two pilot projects specifically catering for sub-degree holders. The Department will also launch a tailor-made package for secondary school graduates in the coming weeks to assist them in getting the latest employment information, devising a career plan and enhancing their employability," Mr Cheung added.

     The Labour Department will continue to hold large-scale job fairs in different districts to facilitate easy access to employment information. Apart from the two job fairs just held in Tung Chung on May 15 and 16, the Department will co-organise the Hong Kong International Airport Job Expo 2014 with the Airport Authority Hong Kong from June 13 to 15, for on-the-spot application of vacancies by job-seekers.

Further Information

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

     The survey for February - April 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 (

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for February - April 2014 can be directed to the Social Analysis and Research Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel: 2887 5508; Fax: 2508 1501; E-mail:

Ends/Monday, May 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30


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