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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for May - July 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for May - July 2015) released today (August 18) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.2% in April - June 2015 to 3.3% in May - July 2015. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing May - July 2015 with April - June 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in various industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly seen in the arts, entertainment and the recreation sector, and the transportation sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the arts, entertainment and the recreation sector.

     Total employment increased by around 6 200 from 3 791 600 in April - June 2015 to 3 797 800 in May - July 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 10 400 from 3 921 500 to 3 931 900.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 4 200 from 129 900 in April - June 2015 to 134 100 in May - July 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 800 from 55 600 to 56 400.


     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 May - July 2015 on the back of resilient domestic demand. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, after staying at 3.2% for three consecutive periods, edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 3.3%, still a relatively low level. Both total employment and labour force grew further at a broadly similar pace over a year earlier."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The near-term labour market outlook will continue to hinge crucially on the overall economic situation. However, a number of external and domestic uncertainties, including notably the impending US interest rate lift-off, gyrations in global financial markets, as well as the weak trend in inbound tourism continue to warrant concerns. We will stay vigilant and closely monitor developments, in particular the employment situation of grassroots workers."

     Mr Cheung said, "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."

     In addition, the Department has launched a range of pilot projects under the Youth Employment and Training Programme to enhance and enrich the workplace attachment opportunities for our youths. Two Youth Employment Resource Centres - "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 continue to hold large-scale job fairs including the Sha Tin Job Fair to be held from tomorrow (August 19) until Friday (August 21) at the Sha Tin Town Hall, with 69 participating employers offering around 5 800 job vacancies from various industries.

Further Information

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

     The survey for May - July 2015 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 76 000 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/Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:30


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