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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for September - November 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for September - November 2015) released today (December 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in September - November 2015, same as that in August - October 2015. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.4% in August - October 2015 to 1.3% in September - November 2015.

     Comparing September - November 2015 with August - October 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. An increase was mainly seen in the accommodation services sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.

     Total employment in September - November 2015 was 3 790 600, about the same as that in August - October 2015 (3 789 900). Over the same period, the labour force decreased by around 2 500 from 3 922 200 to 3 919 700.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 3 200 from 132 300 in August - October 2015 to 129 100 in September - November 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 100 from 53 600 to 52 500.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said, "The labour market remained largely stable in September - November 2015. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.3% for the fifth consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force grew modestly further over a year earlier."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The labour market has held stable in general so far this year. However, in view of the further downtrend in inbound tourism and its spillovers to the related sectors, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor developments down the road, especially the employment situation of grassroots workers."

     The Labour Department will continue to organise district-based job fairs at 13 local job centres from time to time. Catering and retail employers continue to conduct recruitment activities at the Labour Department's two industry-based recruitment centres almost every working day to interview job-seekers on the spot. The Department will open its third industry-based recruitment centre next month in Kowloon Bay to provide employment/recruitment services and information for job-seekers and employers in the construction industry. This new Construction Industry Recruitment Centre is located at the Construction Industry Council Kowloon Bay Training Centre building so that both centres can achieve synergies in their services.

     On large scale job fair, the Labour Department will hold the annual North District Recruitment and Training Expo on January 13, 2016 at Po Wing Road Sports Centre in Sheung Shui, with 57 employers offering over 4 300 job vacancies. Seven training bodies will also take part to introduce employment training programmes and receive applications on the spot.

     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 September - November 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 July - September 2015 while the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2015 will be available by end- February 2016. 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, December 17, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:33


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