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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for January - March 2023
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for January - March 2023) released today (April 24) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3.3% in December 2022 - February 2023 to 3.1% in January - March 2023. The underemployment rate also decreased from 1.3% in December 2022 - February 2023 to 1.2% in January - March 2023.
     Comparing January - March 2023 with December 2022 - February 2023, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied, with relatively notable decreases observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector; and wholesale sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the wholesale sector.
     Total employment increased by around 3 900 from 3 650 200 in December 2022 - February 2023 to 3 654 100 in January - March 2023. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 3 200 from 3 766 000 to 3 769 200.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 600 from 115 700 in December 2022 - February 2023 to 115 100 in January - March 2023. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 200 from 47 900 to 46 700.
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, said, "The labour market continued to improve. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point from December 2022 - February 2023 to 3.1% in January - March 2023. The underemployment rate also declined by 0.1 percentage point to 1.2%. Total employment increased by 3 900 to 3 654 100. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 600 to 115 100."
     Analysed by sector, the combined unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) declined by 0.1 percentage point from the preceding three-month period to 4.2% in January - March 2023. Among these sectors, the unemployment rate of the retail sector and that of the accommodation services sector both declined by 0.1 percentage point to 3.8%, while that of the food and beverage service activities sector edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 4.9% after successive periods of decline over the past year or so. The unemployment rates of other sectors showed diverse movements. Some sectors saw declines in unemployment rates, notably the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector and the wholesale sector. The unemployment rates of the remaining sectors either held steady or increased slightly.
     Looking ahead, Mr Sun said, "The labour market should improve further alongside the continued revival of domestic economic activities and inbound tourism. The disbursement of the new batch of consumption vouchers beginning this month will also help."
     In January – March 2023, the Labour Department (LD) recorded a monthly average of 102 065 vacancies from the private sector, representing a year-on-year increase of 70.8% and an increase of 10.2% over the average figure in December 2022 - February 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 January - March 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 January to March 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/Monday, April 24, 2023
Issued at HKT 16:30
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