Unemployment and underemployment statistics for April - June 2014

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for April - June 2014) released today (July 17) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.1% in March - May 2014 to 3.2% in April - June 2014. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.5% in the two periods.

     Comparing April - June 2014 with March - May 2014, an increase in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) was mainly observed in the cleaning and similar activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while decreases were seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector, and the food and beverage service activities sector.

     Total employment increased by around 4 800 from 3 743 800 in March - May 2014 to 3 748 600 in April - June 2014. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 10 100 from 3 864 700 to 3 874 800.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 5 300 from 120 900 in March - May 2014 to 126 200 in April - June 2014. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 1 800 from 59 800 to 58 000.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 3.2% in April - June 2014, after remaining unchanged for five consecutive months. This is still a low level. Total employment sustained mild year-on-year growth and stayed close to its historical high, signifying persistent tightness in the labour market."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the overall unemployment rate has stayed at a relatively low level lately, the recent deceleration in the local consumption market, as well as the increased labour supply from the new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers, may progressively pose some pressure on the labour market. Externally, the potential impact of heightened geopolitical risks around the globe and the normalisation of the U.S. monetary policy continue to warrant concerns. We will stay vigilant and monitor development closely. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment support to job-seekers."

     The Labour Department will continue to hold large-scale job fairs in various districts to facilitate easy access to employment information. Apart from the Tseung Kwan O Job Fair being held this week, the department will organise another major job fair from August 13 to 15 at Tuen Mun Town Hall.

     Furthermore, the Labour Department has launched a special programme - "Career GPS" - from May to August this year to help prepare current-year secondary school graduates for the employment market. Through various training courses and interactive activities, the programme aims to enhance their job-hunting skills and help them unleash their potential at work and learn the true value of working. Career assessment and consultation services are also provided. A dedicated webpage (www.jobs.gov.hk/careergps) has been set up to provide details of the special programme, various employment market information, and also job vacancies with no experience requirement for current-year secondary school graduates to apply.

Further information

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

     The survey for April - June 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 (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001).

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for April - June 2014 can be directed to the Social Analysis and Research Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel: 2887 5508; fax: 2508 1501; email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, July 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30