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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for August - October 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for August - October 2015) released today (November 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in August - October 2015, same as that in July - September 2015. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing August - October 2015 with July - September 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly seen in the professional and business services sector (excluding cleaning and similar activities), information and communications sector and retail sector. Decreases were mainly seen in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, accommodation services sector and repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the cleaning and similar activities sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 6 300 from 3 796 200 in July - September 2015 to 3 789 900 in August - October 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 9 900 from 3 932 100 to 3 922 200.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 3 500 from 135 800 in July - September 2015 to 132 300 in August - October 2015. The number of underemployed persons in August - October 2015 was 53 600, about the same (53 400) in July - September 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 August - October 2015. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.3% for the fourth consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force grew modestly over a year earlier."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the labour market has remained largely stable in overall terms so far this year, in view of the various downside risks to the near-term economic outlook, especially the persistent weak trend in inbound tourism, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor whether these developments might entail more apparent impact on the labour market going forward."

     Mr Cheung pointed out that the Labour Department would continue to hold job fairs of various scales to assist job-seekers in seeking employment and facilitate the dissemination of employment information. District-based job fairs will continue to be organised at 13 local Job Centres from time to time, while catering and retail employers are having recruitment activities at the two industry-based recruitment centres almost every working day to interview job-seekers on the spot. On large-scale job fair, the annual North District Recruitment and Training Expo will be held on January 13, 2016 at Po Wing Road Sports Centre in Sheung Shui.

     To further assist the middle-aged and elderly persons to find jobs, the Labour Department's Employment Programme for the Middle-aged (EPM) has 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 August - October 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/Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:31


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