Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 6:
Labour Market Situation
Labour Administration and Services
Employment Services
Preparing People for Work
Labour Relations
Employees' Rights
and Benefits
Imported Workers
Occupational Safety
and Health
Occupational Safety
and Health Council
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Labour Market Situation

In the fourth quarter of 2006, Hong Kong's labour force grew by 1.9 per cent over the corresponding period of 2005. The labour force stood at 3.62 million, of whom 54.4 per cent were males and 45.6 per cent were females.

Of those employed, the majority, 86.4 per cent, were engaged in the service sectors — 34.1 per cent in wholesale, retail and import and export trades, restaurants and hotels; 26.1 per cent in community, social and personal services; 15.5 per cent in financing, insurance, real estate and business services; and 10.7 per cent in transport, storage and communications. Only 4.9 per cent worked in the manufacturing sector. The printing and publishing industry was the largest manufacturing industry, engaging 38 800 people by the end of 2006, followed by the food manufacturing industry, the textiles industries and the wearing apparel industry (excluding footwear), which engaged 22 400, 18 800 and 17 700 people respectively. (Details of the distribution of establishments and people employed by selected major industry groups are given in the Appendices.)

Employment Situation

The labour market improved further in 2006, underpinned by a sustained pick-up in economic activities. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 5.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2005 to 4.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2006, while the underemployment rate held stable at 2.4 per cent in both periods. Total employment rose by about 93 400, from 3 372 600 in the fourth quarter of 2005 to a new high of 3 466 000 in the fourth quarter of 2006.


Wage rates are calculated on a time basis, either daily or monthly, or on an incentive basis according to the volume of work performed. The average wage rate for employees up to the supervisory level, including daily-rated and monthly-rated employees, increased by 2.0 per cent in money terms between December 2005 and December 2006. After discounting changes in consumer prices, the average wage rate increased by 0.1 per cent in real terms.

In December 2006, the average monthly wage rate for supervisory, technical, clerical and miscellaneous non-production workers in the wholesale, retail and import and export trades, restaurants and hotels sector was $12,134. Based on the wage indices, the average wage rate for this group increased by 1.4 per cent in money terms, but dropped by 0.5 per cent in real terms, compared with December 2005.

Over the same period, the average wage rate in the manufacturing sector increased by 3.2 per cent in money terms, or by 1.2 per cent in real terms. The average daily wage in this sector was $323 for craftsmen and operatives.

2005 I 2004 I 2003 I 2002 I 2001 I 2000 I 1999 I 1998 I 1997