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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for September - November 2014

     According to the latest labour force statistics (provisional figures for September - November 2014) released today (December 18) by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in September - November 2014, same as that in August - October 2014. The underemployment rate increased from 1.5% in August - October 2014 to 1.6% in September - November 2014.

     Comparing September - November 2014 with August - October 2014, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were observed in the retail sector and the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector, while a decrease was seen in the food and beverage service activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, increases were observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, and food and beverage service activities sectors.

     Total employment in September - November 2014 was 3 779 400, about the same as 3 778 600 in August - October 2014. Meanwhile, the labour force decreased by around 1 900 from 3 907 800 in August - October 2014 to 3 905 900 in September - November 2014.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 2 800 from 129 200 in August - October 2014 to 126 400 in September - November 2014. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons increased by around 4 900 from 57 200 to 62 100.


     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 September - November 2014, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at 3.3% for the fifth consecutive period. Both total employment and labour force sustained moderate year-on-year growth."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the unemployment situation in those sectors more affected by the 'Occupy Movement' has remained largely stable, some signs of worsening in the underemployment situation were observed. Although labour demand in the near team is likely to remain buoyant in the run-up to the festive season around Christmas and the New Year, the potential lagging impacts of the 'Occupy Movement' on the domestic economy will still need to be watched. We will closely monitor development in the labour market, especially the employment and income situation of the grassroots workers."

     On the provision of employment services, Mr Cheung noted that the number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department in November 2014 was close to 102 000. The Department organised 19 large-scale job fairs this year, with over 580 employers participating and offering more than 48 000 vacancies. Fourteen training bodies took part to introduce job-training opportunities at the job fairs and received applications on the spot. The Department will continue to stage large-scale job fairs in the coming months, including the North District Recruitment and Training Expo 2015 at Lung Sum Avenue Sports Centre in Sheung Shui on January 21 2015, targeting particularly ethnic minority job-seekers, amongst others.

     In addition, the Tung Chung Job Centre newly set up by the Labour Department at Yat Tung Shopping Centre in Tung Chung has come into operation in the fourth quarter this year.

Further information

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

     The survey for September - November 2014 covered a sample of some 24 000 households or 73 000 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 2014 while the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2014 will be available by end February 2015. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (

     Enquiries for labour force statistics for September - November 2014 can be directed to the Social Analysis and Research Section (2), Census and Statistics Department (Tel: 2887 5508; fax: 2508 1501; email:

Ends/Thursday, December 18, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:32


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