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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for July - September 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for July - September 2015) released today (October 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in July - September 2015, same as that in June - August 2015. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing July - September 2015 with June - August 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly seen in the sectors of social work activities, and import and export trade. Decreases were mainly seen in the sectors of accommodation services, food and beverage service activities, and information and communications. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the retail sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the sector of decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings.

     Total employment decreased by around 12 300 from 3 808 500 in June - August 2015 to 3 796 200 in July - September 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 13 900 from 3 946 000 to 3 932 100.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 1 600 from 137 400 in June - August 2015 to 135 800 in July - September 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 700 from 55 100 to 53 400.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market held largely stable in July - September 2015. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.3% for the third consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force posted further year-on-year growth at a broadly similar pace."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the labour market has stayed resilient so far this year, the near-term outlook remains clouded by a number of negative developments including the tepid global demand conditions, increased stock market volatility, and slowdown in inbound tourism. We will stay vigilant and closely monitor developments, in particular the employment situation of grassroots workers."

     Mr Cheung noted that the Labour Department would continue to hold large-scale job fairs including the Retail Industry Job Fair on November 11 and 12, 2015 at the Domain in Yau Tong, with over 50 employers participating and offering about 4 800 job vacancies.

     To further assist the middle-aged and elderly persons to find jobs, the Labour Department's Employment Programme for the Middle-aged (EPM) has also been extended with effect from September this year to cover part-time jobs that are more preferred by mature job-seekers. Under the EPM, employers who engage unemployed job-seekers aged 40 or above and provide them with on-the-job training may apply for a training allowance for a period of three to six months.

Further Information

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

     The survey for July - September 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 April - June 2015 while the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2015 will be available by end November 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/Monday, October 19, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:30


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