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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for October - December 2014

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for October - December 2014) released today (January 19) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in October - December 2014, same as that in September - November 2014. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.6% in the two periods.

     Comparing October - December 2014 with September - November 2014, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were observed in the information and communications, and real estate sectors, while decreases were seen in the retail, and food and beverage service activities sectors. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while a decrease was seen in the cleaning and similar activities sector.

     Total employment in October - December 2014 increased by around 17 800 from 3 779 400 in September - November 2014 to 3 797 200 in October - December 2014. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 13 500 from 3 905 900 to 3 919 400.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 4 300 from 126 400 in September - November 2014 to 122 100 in October - December 2014. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons increased by around 600 from 62 100 to 62 700.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market held broadly stable in October - December 2014, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at 3.3% for the sixth consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force kept growing moderately over a year earlier."

     He added, "The end of the 'Occupy Movement', the usually more vibrant business activity in the run-up to Christmas, together with the more stable consumer sentiment and notable growth in inbound tourism conceivably rendered support for the employment market.

     "For 2014 as a whole, both the labour force and total employment grew further by 0.7% and 0.9% respectively (provisional figures). The annual unemployment rate edged down from 3.4% in 2013 to 3.2% (provisional figure) in 2014."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "As labour demand will likely stay resilient during the New Year festive period, the unemployment rate can be expected to remain at a relatively low level in the near term. Nevertheless, in view of the still highly uncertain external environment and its potential repercussions on the local economy, we need to stay vigilant and monitor development in the labour market closely."

     Mr Cheung noted that the Labour Department recorded more than 97 000 private sector vacancies in December last year. The Department organised 19 large-scale job fairs last year, with over 580 employers participating and offering more than 48 000 vacancies. The Department will continue to stage large-scale job fairs in the coming months, including the North District Recruitment and Training Expo 2015 at Lung Sum Avenue Sports Centre in Sheung Shui on January 21. Altogether 65 organisations will participate in the Expo, offering over 5 600 vacancies and targeting ethnic minority job-seekers in particular.

Further information

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

     The survey for October - December 2014 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 73 000 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 July - September 2014 while the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2014 will be available by end February 2015. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for October - December 2014 can be directed to the Social Analysis and Research Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel: 2887 5508; fax: 2508 1501; email:

Ends/Monday, January 19, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:30


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