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

Unemployment rate remains at 2.9%


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October 18, 2019 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for July - September 2019) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.9% in July - September 2019, same as that in June - August 2019. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods.

Comparing July - September 2019 with June - August 2019, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. A relatively notable decrease was observed in the information and communications sector, while an increase was mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities sector. Movements in the underemployment rates in different industry sectors also varied, but were generally small in magnitude.

Total employment decreased by around 8,200 from 3,863,600 in June - August 2019 to 3,855,400 in July - September 2019. Over the same period, the labor force also decreased by around 8,500 from 3,984,200 to 3,975,700.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in July - September 2019 was 120,300, about the same as that in June - August 2019 (120,600). The number of underemployed persons in July - September 2019 was 41 500, also about the same as that in June - August 2019 (41,000).

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, “The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 2.9% in July - September 2019, while the underemployment rate likewise held steady at 1.0%. Yet, total employment declined slightly from the year-ago level.”

“Weak local consumption and plunging visitor arrivals caused by local social incidents continued to weigh on the labor market. The unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors as a whole) increased further to 4.9%, the highest in more than two years. In particular, the unemployment rate of the food and beverage service activities sector rose sharply to a six-year high of 6.0%.”
Looking ahead, Dr Law said, “Worsened economic conditions will put increasing pressure on the local labor market in the near term. The Government will monitor the developments closely.”

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