Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release

Unemployment rate increased to 3.2%


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December 17, 2019 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for September - November 2019) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.1% in August - October 2019 to 3.2% in September - November 2019. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.2% in the two periods.

Comparing September - November 2019 with August - October 2019, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. Increase in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) was mainly seen in the retail sector. As to the underemployment rate, increases were mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector and food and beverage service activities sector, while a decrease was mainly observed in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector.

Total employment decreased by around 13,200 from 3,843,800 in August - October 2019 to 3,830,600 in September - November 2019. Over the same period, the labor force also decreased by around 13,300 from 3,969,300 to 3,956,000.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in September - November 2019 was 125,400, the same as that in August - October 2019 (125,400). The number of underemployed persons increased by around 1 000 from 45,900 from August - October to 46,900 in September - November 2019.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, “The labor market eased further as economic conditions continued to worsen. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point in September - November 2019 to 3.2%, while the underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.2%. The year-on-year decline in total employment widened further.”

“Hard hit by local social incidents, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors as a whole) rose further to a three-year high of 5.2%. In particular, the unemployment rate of the food and beverage service activities sector increased to 6.2%, the highest level in more than eight years. The unemployment rates of many other sectors also recorded increases.”

Looking ahead, Dr Law said, “The labor market will be under even more pressure in the near term if the overall economy continues to weaken. The Government will monitor the developments closely.”

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