Comparing December 2012 - February 2013 with November 2012 - January 2013, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the transportation and construction sectors, while decreases were mainly observed in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector, and professional and business services sector. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the social work activities and construction sectors.
Total employment increased by around 6 000 from 3 706 000 in November 2012 - January 2013 to 3 712 000 in December 2012 - February 2013. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 8 600 from 3 826 500 to 3 835 100.
The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 600 from 120 500 in November 2012 - January 2013 to 123 100 in December 2012 - February 2013. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 1 700 from 60 300 to 58 600.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market remained largely stable recently in tandem with solid labour demand during the festive period on entering 2013. Total employment grew modestly further by around 6 000 to a historic high of 3 712 000 in December 2012 - February 2013. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held unchanged at 3.4 percent."
On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The buoyant domestic consumption and inbound tourism should continue to fuel labour demand, thus helping to keep the labour market conditions stable. Nevertheless, as business activity generally subsides after the Lunar New Year and the effect of employers' customary annual review on staffing position has yet to fully emerge, we need to remain vigilant and continue to monitor development in the 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."