Unemployment and underemployment statistics for November 2014 - January 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for November 2014 - January 2015) released today (February 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in November 2014 - January 2015, same as that in October - December 2014. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.6% in the two periods.

     Comparing November 2014 - January 2015 with October - December 2014, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in various industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly observed in the wholesale, accommodation services, and food and beverage service activities sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector, the transportation sector and the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector while decreases were mainly seen in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector and the food and beverage service activities sector.

     Total employment in November 2014 - January 2015 increased by around 4 600 from 3 797 200 in October - December 2014 to 3 801 800 in November 2014 - January 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 2 800 from 3 919 400 to 3 922 200.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 1 600 from 122 100 in October - December 2014 to 120 500 in November 2014 - January 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons in November 2014 - January 2015 was 62 200, about the same as 62 700 in October - December 2014.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained largely stable in November 2014 - January 2015, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at the low level of 3.3% for the seventh consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force grew modestly over a year earlier."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the usually more buoyant business activity in the run-up to the Lunar New Year should render some support to labour demand, the near-term employment outlook would continue to hinge crucially on the overall economic situation, in particular how the domestic sector would fare down the road. We will stay vigilant and monitor development in the labour market closely."

     On the provision of employment services, Mr Cheung noted that the Labour Department recorded more than 95 000 private sector vacancies in January. The Department organised a large-scale job fair last month with 55 participating employers offering over 5 600 vacancies, and nine training bodies introducing their training courses and receiving applications on the spot. Another two large-scale job fairs with the theme of "Building a Multi-culture Workplace" will be held by the Department in Mong Kok on March 12 and 13. A total of 84 employers offering about 6 400 vacancies for job-seekers of diverse backgrounds and eight training bodies will participate.

     Mr Cheung pointed out that in the March job fairs the Labour Department would make special arrangements with a non-governmental organisation in offering interpretation services for ethnic minorities to assist them in finding suitable employment opportunities. "This does not only help ethnic minority job-seekers in job hunting but will also serve to address the manpower shortage situation in Hong Kong. This is in line with our population policy to unleash the potential of the local labour force. I strongly encourage job-seekers, particularly ethnic minorities, to attend these job fairs," he said.

Further information

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

     The survey for November 2014 - January 2015 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 72 000 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 C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001).

     For enquiries about labour force statistics, please contact the Social Analysis and Research Section (2) of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5508 or email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:32