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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for March - May 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for March - May 2015) released today (June 18) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in March - May 2015, same as that in February - April 2015. The underemployment rate increased from 1.3% in February - April 2015 to 1.4% in March - May 2015.

     Comparing March - May 2015 with February - April 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. An increase was mainly seen in the wholesale sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the construction sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 12 200 from 3 792 300 in February - April 2015 to 3 780 100 in March - May 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 12 100 from 3 919 800 to 3 907 700.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in March - May 2015 was 127 700, about the same as that in February - April 2015 (127 500). Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons increased by around 3 500 from 49 400 to 52 900.


     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 March - May 2015, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at 3.2%. Both total employment and labour force grew moderately over a year earlier."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Although the labour market stayed resilient recently, the near-term employment outlook remains clouded by the highly uncertain external environment as well as the sluggish performance of the retail and other tourism-related sectors. We will continue to stay vigilant and closely monitor development, in particular the employment situation of those at the grassroots level."

     To promote youth employment, the Labour Department has launched a "Career Let's go" special programme from May to September this year to cater for the pre-employment training and employment needs of secondary school graduates. Some 40 000 youths are expected to benefit from the programme.

     The Department will continue to enhance and enrich the workplace attachment opportunities for the youngsters under the Youth Employment and Training Programme. Moreover, the two Youth Employment Resource Centres named "Youth Employment Start" under the Department will continue to provide one-stop employment and self-employment support services to young people aged 15 to 29.

     The Department will also continue to hold large-scale job fairs to facilitate easy access to employment information. From July 21 to 23, it will hold the Tuen Mun Job Fair at the Tuen Mun Town Hall, with around 60 employers participating.

Further information

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

     The survey for March - May 2015 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 2015 while the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2015 will be available by end August 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, June 18, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:32


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