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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for November 2015 - January 2016

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for November 2015 - January 2016) released today (February 23) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in November 2015 - January 2016, same as that in October - December 2015. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing November 2015 - January 2016 with October - December 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 insurance sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.

     Total employment increased by around 8 100 from 3 803 900 in October - December 2015 to 3 812 000 in November 2015 - January 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 6 300 from 3 925 500 to 3 931 800.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 1 800 from 121 600 in October - December 2015 to 119 800 in November 2015 - January 2016. The number of underemployed persons in November 2015 - January 2016 was 53 200, about the same as that in October - December 2015 (53 500).


     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 November 2015 - January 2016. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.3% for the seventh consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force registered further year-on-year growth, albeit only slightly."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the labour market held largely stable in overall terms thus far, the near-term employment outlook remains clouded by a sluggish world economy and slackening inbound tourism. The recent ease-back in growth momentum of local consumption also warrants particular concern. In view of these developments, we will stay vigilant and monitor the labour market situation closely."

     Mr Cheung said, "To strengthen recruitment of local construction workers, the Labour Department's new Construction Industry Recruitment Centre was officially commissioned in January. Job-seekers can obtain at the centre information on the construction industry, including employment opportunities and occupational safety and health. Construction employers will also hold job fairs to interview job-seekers on-the-spot from time to time."

     In addition, the Labour Department will continue to organise job fairs of different scales to assist job-seekers in finding employment and provide up-to-date employment information, including three large-scale job fairs to be held in Cheung Sha Wan on March 3 and in Wan Chai on March 16 and 17. A total of 100 participating employers will offer over 8 000 job vacancies and eight training bodies will participate in the events to introduce job training programmes to job-seekers and receive applications on-the-spot. Also, catering and retail employers will continue to conduct recruitment activities and arrange on-the-spot interviews for job seekers at the Department's other two recruitment centres for the catering industry and retail industry, while district-based job fairs will continue to be held at 13 local job centres.

Further Information

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

     The survey for November 2015 - January 2016 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/Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:32


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