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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for October - December 2015

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for October - December 2015) released today (January 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in October - December 2015, same as that in September - November 2015. The underemployment rate increased from 1.3% in September - November 2015 to 1.4% in October - December 2015.

     Comparing October - December 2015 with September - November 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. An increase was mainly seen in the information and communications sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly seen in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

     Total employment increased by around 13 300 from 3 790 600 in September - November 2015 to 3 803 900 in October - December 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 5 800 from 3 919 700 to 3 925 500.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 7 500 from 129 100 in September - November 2015 to 121 600 in October - December 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons increased by around 1 000 from 52 500 to 53 500.


     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 October - December 2015. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.3% for the sixth consecutive period. Both total employment and the labour force sustained modest year-on-year growth. For 2015 as a whole, both the labour force and total employment grew further by 1.3% (provisional figure), while the unemployment rate held stable at 3.3% (provisional figure)."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the labour market held stable in overall terms throughout 2015, in view of the considerable downside risks to the near-term economic outlook, especially the sustained weak trend in inbound tourism, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor developments, in particular the employment situation of grassroots workers."

     Mr Cheung noted that the Labour Department's new Construction Industry Recruitment Centre has come on stream last week. Located at the Construction Industry Council Kowloon Bay Training Centre building, the centre provides job-seekers with up-to-date employment information on construction industry and facilitates construction employers to organise job fairs and conduct on-the-spot interviews with job-seekers. The Department will continue to organise job fairs of various scale, including three large-scale job fairs to be staged respectively in Cheung Sha Wan on March 3 and in Wai Chai on March 16 and 17. District-based job fairs will continue to be held at 13 local job centres, while the other two industry-based recruitment centres will continue to facilitate catering and retail employers to conduct recruitment and interview job seekers on-the-spot.

     Meanwhile, the Department's Youth Employment and Training Programme has just launched the "Aviation Recruitment Series" to provide young people seeking a career in the aviation industry with a series of on-the-job training and employment opportunities in cabin crew, ground services and aircraft maintenance. A "Horticulture and Arboriculture Trainee Training Project" has also been launched to promote a career with development potential in horticulture and arboriculture management.

Further information

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

     The survey for October - December 2015 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 July - September 2015 while the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2015 will be available by end February 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/Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:32


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