Unemployment and underemployment statistics for December 2015 - February 2016

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for December 2015 - February 2016) released today (March 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in December 2015 - February 2016, same as that in November 2015 - January 2016. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.4% in November 2015 - January 2016 to 1.3% in December 2015 - February 2016.
     Comparing November 2015 - January 2016 with December 2015 - February 2016, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for the buildings sector and accommodation services sector while decreases were mainly seen in the transportation sector and insurance sector. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly observed in the arts, entertainment and recreational activities sector and transportation sector.

     Total employment increased by around 4 400 from 3 812 000 in November 2015 - January 2016 to 3 816 400 in December 2015 - February 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 5 300 from 3 931 800 to 3 937 100.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 900 from 119 800 in November 2015 - January 2016 to 120 700 in December 2015 - February 2016. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 2 400 from 53 200 to 50 800.


     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 December 2015 - February 2016. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% for the eighth consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force sustained year-on-year growth though only at a meagre pace."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Although the labour market has remained broadly stable in overall terms thus far, the near-term employment outlook is overshadowed by a slow-growing global economy and slackening inbound tourism. With private sector corporations normally reviewing their annual staffing position after the Lunar New Year, we will stay vigilant and monitor the labour market situation closely.

     "Indeed, employment of the tourism-related sectors, viz retail, accommodation and food services as a whole, posted the 10th consecutive year-on-year decline amid the protracted slowdown in inbound tourism and the slackened growth momentum of local consumption more recently. Among them, the retail and accommodation services were hit harder, with the unemployment rate for the retail sector up by 0.5 percentage point over a year earlier to 4.8% while that for accommodation services up by 1.8 percentage points to 5.2%. Both figures witnessed noticeable year-on-year increases, and were also much higher than the overall unemployment rate."

     Mr Cheung added that the Labour Department would continue to organise job fairs of different scales to provide employment and recruitment information in order to assist job-seekers in seeking employment. In addition to a job fair on March 22 at the Tsuen Wan Job Centre offering vacancies in the broadcasting industry, the Department will organise a large-scale job fair from May 18 to 20 at the DĄPPark in Tsuen Wan. The Department's local job centres will continue to hold district based job fairs from time to time, while catering, retail and construction employers will continue to conduct recruitment activities at the three industry-based recruitment centres and interview job-seekers on-the-spot.

Further information

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

     The survey for December 2015 - February 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 October - December 2015 while the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2016 will be available by end May 2016. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001).

     For enquiries about labour force statistics, please contact the Social Analysis and Research Section (2) of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5508 or email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, March 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:32