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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for May - July 2014

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for May - July 2014) released today (August 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.2% in April - June 2014 to 3.3% in May - July 2014. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.5% in the two periods.

     Comparing May - July 2014 with April - June 2014, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the food and beverage service activities, repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities, and retail sectors. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while notable increase was not seen in any particular sector.

     Total employment increased by around 26 400 from 3 744 700 in April - June 2014 to 3 771 100 in May - July 2014. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 32 100 from 3 872 300 to 3 904 400.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 5 700 from 127 600 in April - June 2014 to 133 300 in May - July 2014. The number of underemployed persons in May - July 2014 was 57 900, about the same as 58 000 in April - June 2014.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market showed some initial signs of easing with the distinct slackening in inbound tourism and slowdown in domestic demand recently. Although total employment rose to an all-time high of 3 771 100, the increase in labour force was even more. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up further by 0.1 percentage point to 3.3% in May - July 2014."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The latest economic analysis indicates that while the Hong Kong economy might hopefully see some relative improvement in the rest of 2014, the outlook is still clouded by downside risks stemming from both the domestic and external fronts. The employment situation in the near term will hinge on the overall economic situation, including how tourism and consumption-related sectors would fare. We, therefore, need to stay vigilant and monitor development closely. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment support services to job-seekers."

     To help prepare current-year secondary school graduates for the employment market, the Labour Department has launched a special programme - "Career GPS" - from May to August this year, with an aim of enhancing their interview skills and providing them with career assessment and consultation services. The Department will continue to canvass job vacancies suitable for fresh graduates who are entering the job market immediately, and organise large-scale and district-based job fairs where job interviews can be conducted on the spot.

     Apart from the Tuen Mun Job Fair that was held last week, the Department will organise a Retail Industry Job Fair from September 18 to 19 at the Lai Kok Community Hall at Cheung Sha Wan.

Further Information

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

     The survey for May - July 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 latest issue of the publication contains statistics for the quarter January - March 2014 while 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 May - July 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, August 18, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:30


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