Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Unemployment and underemployment statistics for March - May 2016

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for March - May 2016) released today (June 16) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.4% in March - May 2016, same as that in February - April 2016. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing March - May 2016 with February - April 2016, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly seen in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector and the information and communications sector while decreases were mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector and the professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 5 700 from 3 806 600 in February - April 2016 to 3 800 900 in March - May 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 5 300 from 3 940 800 to 3 935 500.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in March - May 2016 was 134 600, about the same (134 200) as in February - April 2016. The number of underemployed persons increased by around 2 600 from 53 300 in February - April 2016 to 55 900 in March - May 2016.


     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 overall terms in March - May 2016, with both the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate remaining unchanged at 3.4% and 1.4% respectively. Reflecting the slow economic growth, total employment grew only mildly over a year earlier.

     "In so far as the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) is concerned, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.3% in March - May 2016, the level was 0.7 percentage point higher than a year earlier and far above the economy-wide figure, with employment registering a year-on-year decline for the 13th consecutive period. Within these sectors, retail and accommodation services were hit harder by the sustained weakness in inbound tourism, with their unemployment rates up by 1.0 percentage point and 1.3 percentage points over a year earlier to 5.5% and 4.3% respectively."

     On the short-term outlook, noting that the employment outlook remains clouded by the highly uncertain external environment and slackened local consumption market, Mr Cheung said, "In light of the envisaged boost to labour supply from the entry of fresh graduates and school leavers in the coming months, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor developments."

     "To assist secondary school graduates this year to enter the labour market, the Labour Department has launched a special programme - 'Career Let's go' from May to August to help them grasp the latest employment information, devise a career plan and enhance their employability through a series of diversified pre-employment training and employment services. Youth Employment Start (Y.E.S.) will organise various training courses and an interactive drama to enhance the job-hunting skills of graduates as well as help them unleash their potential at work and learn the true value of working; and provide graduates with career assessment and career consultation services." Mr Cheung added.

     The Labour Department will continue to organise large-scale job fairs, including the job fairs to be staged respectively at Sha Tin Town Hall on July 12 - 13 and at Tuen Mun Town Hall on August 17 - 19. In addition, the three industry-based Recruitment Centres and local job centres will continue to conduct recruitment activities to help job-seekers find employment.

Further information

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

     The survey for March - May 2016 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 74 000 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 January - March 2016 while the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2016 will be available by end August 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, June 16, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:31


Print this page