Unemployment and underemployment statistics for December 2022 - February 2023

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for December 2022 - February 2023) released today (March 16) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3.4% in November 2022 - January 2023 to 3.3% in December 2022 - February 2023. The underemployment rate also decreased from 1.4% in November 2022 - January 2023 to 1.3% in December 2022 - February 2023.
     Comparing December 2022 - February 2023 with November 2022 - January 2023, the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in many major economic sectors, with more distinct decreases observed in the retail sector; transportation sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector and insurance sector.
     Total employment decreased by around 12 000 from 3 662 200 in November 2022 - January 2023 to 3 650 200 in December 2022 - February 2023. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 14 600 from 3 780 600 to 3 766 000.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 2 700 from 118 400 in November 2022 - January 2023 to 115 700 in December 2022 - February 2023. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 4 200 from 52 100 to 47 900.
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, said, "The unemployment and underemployment situation continued to improve. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage point from November 2022 - January 2023 to 3.3% in December 2022 - February 2023. The underemployment rate also declined by 0.1 percentage point to 1.3%.  The number of unemployed persons decreased by 2 700 to 115 700, and that of underemployed persons by 4 200 to 47 900."

     Analysed by sector, the combined unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) fell by 0.2 percentage point from the preceding three-month period to 4.3% in December 2022 - February 2023. Among these sectors, the unemployment rate of the retail sector declined by 0.3 percentage point to 3.9%, and that of the food and beverage service activities sector edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 4.8%. The unemployment rates of many other sectors also declined, particularly the transportation sector and the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.   
     Looking ahead, Mr Sun said, "The labour market conditions should improve further in the near term alongside the continued return of economic activities to normalcy and the rebound in inbound tourism."
     The Labour Department (LD) has been operating designated recruitment centres for the catering and retail industries at Treasury Building in Cheung Sha Wan. LD will continue to assist employers of the industries to recruit manpower through proactively organising thematic recruitment activities. On large-scale job fairs, LD will organise the Pursuing New Opportunities Job Fair and Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme Job Expo at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on March 30, 2023. Over 50 employers will participate, offering various vacancies in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area Mainland cities which are suitable for graduates of tertiary institutions and job seekers of different backgrounds. 
     In December 2022 – February 2023, LD recorded a monthly average of 92 624 vacancies from the private sector, representing a year-on-year increase of 23.3% and a decrease of 0.3% over the average figure in November 2022 - January 2023. Job seekers may make use of the LD's online platforms such as the Interactive Employment Service website for obtaining such vacancy information.
Further information
     The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.

     In the survey, the definitions used in measuring unemployment and underemployment follow closely those recommended by the International Labour Organization. The employed population covers all employers, self-employed persons, employees (including full-time, part-time, casual workers, etc.) and unpaid family workers. Unemployed persons by industry (or occupation) are classified according to their previous industry (or occupation).
     The survey for December 2022 - February 2023 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 69 000 persons, selected in accordance with a scientifically designed sampling scheme to represent the population of Hong Kong. Labour force statistics compiled from this sample represented the situation in the moving three-month period of December 2022 to February 2023.
     Data on labour force characteristics were obtained from the survey by interviewing each member aged 15 or over in the sampled households.
     Statistical tables on the latest labour force statistics can be downloaded at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/scode200.html). More detailed analysis of the 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 2022 while the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2023 will be available by end May 2023. Users can also download this publication at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/EIndexbySubject.html?pcode=B1050001&scode=200).
     For enquiries about labour force statistics, please contact the General Household Survey Section (3) of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5508 or email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, March 16, 2023
Issued at HKT 16:30