Unemployment and underemployment statistics for February - April 2015
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     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for February - April 2015) released today (May 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3.3% in January - March 2015 to 3.2% in February - April 2015. The underemployment rate also decreased from 1.4% in January - March 2015 to 1.3% in February - April 2015.

     Comparing February - April 2015 with January - March 2015, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in various industry sectors varied. Decreases were mainly seen in the information and communications, retail, and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sectors. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly observed in the construction sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 8 800 from 3 801 100 in January - March 2015 to 3 792 300 in February - April 2015. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 8 600 from 3 928 400 to 3 919 800.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in February - April 2015 was 127 500, about the same (127 300) in January - March 2015. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 4 100 from 53 500 to 49 400.

Commentary

     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained largely tight in February - April 2015. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which remained unchanged at 3.3% for nine consecutive periods, edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 3.2%. Both total employment and labour force sustained year-on-year growth."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The near-term employment outlook will continue to hinge on the overall economic growth, in particular how domestic demand and inbound tourism would fare down the road amidst the various uncertainties on the external front. We will stay vigilant and closely monitor development in the labour market."

     To promote youth employment, the Labour Department has launched a "Career Let's go" special programme from May to September to cater for the pre-employment training and employment needs of secondary school graduates. Some 40 000 youths are expected to benefit from the programme.

     In addition, the Department has launched two pilot projects under the Youth Employment and Training Programme this year. These are the "Hotel Operation Trainee Training Project" offered by six international hotels and the "Reading Culture" project offered by three local cultural enterprises to provide on-the-job training opportunities for young people seeking a career in the hotel industry or the culture and publishing industry respectively. Moreover, the two Youth Employment Resource Centres named "Youth Employment Start" under the Department will continue to provide one-stop employment and self-employment support services to young people aged 15 to 29.

     The Labour Department will also continue to hold large-scale job fairs to facilitate easy access to employment information. From June 5 to 7, the Department and the Hong Kong Airport Authority will co-organise the "Hong Kong International Airport Career Expo 2015" at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Further information

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

     The survey for February - April 2015 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 October - December 2014 while the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2015 will be available by end May 2015. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001).

     For enquiries about labour force statistics, please contact the Social Analysis and Research Section (2) of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5508 or email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:31

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