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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for December 2014 - February 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for December 2014 - February 2015) released today (March 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in December 2014 - February 2015, same as that in November 2014 - January 2015. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.6% in November 2014 - January 2015 to 1.5% in December 2014 - February 2015.

     Comparing December 2014 - February 2015 with November 2014 - January 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in various industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly observed in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector and the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector, while decreases were mainly seen in the information and communications sector and the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly observed in the construction, transportation, food and beverage service activities, and retail sectors.

     Total employment in December 2014 - February 2015 increased by around 5 700 from 3 801 800 in November 2014 - January 2015 to 3 807 500 in December 2014 - February 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 7 100 from 3 922 200 to 3 929 300.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 300 from 120 500 in November 2014 - January 2015 to 121 800 in December 2014 - February 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 4 900 from 62 200 in November 2014 - January 2015 to 57 300 in December 2014 - February 2015.


     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 December 2014 - February 2015, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at the low level of 3.3% for the eighth consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force grew further over a year earlier."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "As it is customary for employers to conduct their annual review of staffing position after the Lunar New Year, the near-term employment outlook will continue to hinge on the overall economic situation and business sentiment, in particular the performance of the consumption and tourism-related sectors down the road. We will stay vigilant and closely monitor development in the labour market."

     On the provision of employment services, Mr Cheung noted that the Labour Department recorded more than 88 000 private sector vacancies in February. In addition, since the beginning of 2015, the Department has organised three large-scale job fairs with 139 participating employers, offering over 12 000 vacancies from the retail, catering, property management, and other industries. Seventeen training bodies introduced job training programmes at the venues of job fairs and received applications on the spot. The Department will organise the Tsuen Wan Job Fair from May 12 to 14, 2015 at the Discovery Park Shopping Centre in Tsuen Wan.

Further information

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

     The survey for December 2014 - February 2015 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 October - December 2014 while the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2015 will be available by end May 2015. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (

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

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


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