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

Unemployment rate rose to 3.1%


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November 18, 2019 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for August - October 2019) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 2.9% in July - September 2019 to 3.1% in August - October 2019. The underemployment rate also increased from 1.0% in July - September 2019 to 1.2% in August - October 2019.

Comparing August - October 2019 with July - September 2019, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate were mainly seen in the construction sector.

Total employment decreased by around 11 600 from 3 855 400 in July - September 2019 to 3 843 800 in August - October 2019. Over the same period, the labor force also decreased by around 6 400 from 3 975 700 to 3 969 300.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 5 100 from 120 300 in July - September 2019 to 125 400 in August - October 2019. The number of underemployed persons also increased by around 4 400 from 41 500 to 45 900.

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. Both the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate went up by 0.2 percentage point in August - October 2019, to 3.1% and 1.2% respectively. The year-on-year decline in total employment enlarged.

"The unemployment rates in most sectors increased compared with the preceding three-month period. The unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors as a whole) rose further to 5.0%, the highest since the beginning of 2017. Within this segment, the unemployment rate for those working in food and beverage service activities went up to 6.1%, the highest in more than six years. The unemployment rate of the construction sector, particularly of those involved in decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, deteriorated visibly."

Looking ahead, Dr. Law said, "The unemployment rate will be under increasing upward pressure as local social incidents involving intensifying violence continue to take a heavy toll on the economy. The Government will monitor the developments closely."

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