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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for January - March 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for January - March 2015) released today (April 23) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in January - March 2015, same as that in December 2014 - February 2015. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.5% in December 2014 - February 2015 to 1.4% in January - March 2015.

     Comparing January - March 2015 with December 2014 - February 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in various industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly observed in the construction and retail sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the real estate, and information and communications sectors. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, and transportation sectors.

     Total employment in January - March 2015 decreased by around 6 400 from 3 807 500 in December 2014 - February 2015 to 3 801 100 in January - March 2015. Meanwhile, the labour force in January - March 2015 was 3 928 400, about the same (3 929 300) in December 2014 - February 2015.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 5 500 from 121 800 in December 2014 - February 2015 to 127 300 in January - March 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 3 800 from 57 300 in December 2014 - February 2015 to 53 500 in January - March 2015.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained broadly stable in January - March 2015, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at the low level of 3.3% for the ninth consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force attained further year-on-year growth."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The near-term employment outlook will continue to hinge on the overall economic situation and business sentiment. In view of the recent moderation in visitor spending, we need to observe carefully its potential impact on the employment situation of relevant sectors. We will stay vigilant and closely monitor development in the labour market, particularly the employment situation of the lower-skilled segment."

     On the provision of employment services, Mr Cheung noted that the Labour Department recorded more than 116 000 private sector vacancies in March, representing a notable year-on-year increase of almost 10%. The Department organised three large-scale job fairs from January to March 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 at the Discovery Park Shopping Centre in Tsuen Wan, with more than 100 participating employers offering over 6 400 vacancies for application by job-seekers on the spot.

Further information

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

     The survey for January - March 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/Thursday, April 23, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:31


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