Comparing February - April 2013 with January - March 2013, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the retail, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services sectors, while decreases were mainly seen in the insurance, wholesale and construction sectors. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector, while a decrease was mainly seen in the cleaning and similar activities sector.
Total employment decreased by around 1 900 from 3 720 200 in January - March 2013 to 3 718 300 in February - April 2013. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 1 000 from 3 852 700 to 3 851 700.
The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 000 from 132 500 in January - March 2013 to 133 500 in February - April 2013. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 700 from 61 100 to 61 800.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market held largely stable lately. Total employment shrank slightly in February - April 2013 after six straight months of increase. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at a relatively low level of 3.5%."
On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "A new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers will enter the labour market in the coming few months. Coupled with a still rather cautious hiring sentiment, there may be some pressure on the unemployment rate. Yet, the resilience of domestic demand should provide some cushion to the overall employment situation. We will stay alert and monitor developments in the local labour market closely. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers and enhance its employment service in relatively remote districts."