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Unemployment and Underemployment Statistics for March - May 2014

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for March - May 2014) released today (June 17) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in March - May 2014, same as that in February - April 2014. The underemployment rate increased from 1.4% in February - April 2014 to 1.5% in March - May 2014.

     Comparing March - May 2014 with February - April 2014, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the information and communications, and food and beverage service activities sectors while decreases were seen in the construction and transportation sectors. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector.

     Total employment increased by around 19 000 from 3 724 800 in February - April 2014 to 3 743 800 in March - May 2014. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 18 500 from 3 846 200 to 3 864 700.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 500 from 121 400 in February - April 2014 to 120 900 in March - May 2014. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons increased by around 7 000 from 52 800 to 59 800.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at a 16-year low of 3.1% for the fifth consecutive month in March - May 2014, while total employment was near the record high, reflecting the persistent tightness in the labour market."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Downside risks to the Hong Kong economy have increased recently. Apart from the unsteady global economic recovery and escalating geopolitical risks, the recent softening trend in the local consumption market is also a cause of concern. These domestic and external uncertainties, coupled with the entry of a new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers in the coming few months, may progressively pose some pressure on the labour market. We will remain vigilant and monitor development closely. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment support to job-seekers, and will continue to enhance its employment service in remote districts."

     The Labour Department will continue to hold large-scale job fairs in various districts to facilitate easy access to employment information. Apart from the Hong Kong International Airport Job Expo 2014 co-organised with the Airport Authority Hong Kong last week, the Labour Department will also organise another major job fair from July 16 to 18 at Kin Choi Community Hall in Tseung Kwan O.

     Furthermore, to promote youth employment, the Government will continue to provide employment support and training services through the Labour Department, Vocational Training Council and Employees Retraining Board, etc.

     The Labour Department has launched a special programme "Career GPS" from May to August this year to help current-year secondary school graduates find suitable work through a series of tailor-made activities. The department will also canvass job vacancies suitable for secondary school graduates and organise a number of large-scale and district-based job fairs at which job-seekers can have job interviews with the recruiting employers on the spot.

Further Information

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

     The survey for March - May 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 January - March 2014 is now available and the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2014 will be available by end August 2014. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for March - May 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/Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30


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