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

Unemployment remains at 2.9%


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September 17, 2019 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for June - August 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 June - August 2019, same as that in May - July 2019. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods.

Comparing June - August 2019 with May - July 2019, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. A relatively notable decrease was observed in the construction 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 3 600 from 3 867 300 in May - July 2019 to 3 863 700 in June - August 2019. Over the same period, the labor force also decreased by around 1 500 from 3 985 800 to 3 984 300.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 100 from 118 500 in May - July 2019 to 120 600 in June - August 2019. The number of underemployed persons in June - August 2019 was 41 000, about the same as that in May - July 2019 (40 700).

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, Hong Kong Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr. Law Chi-kwong said, "The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 2.9% in June – August 2019. The underemployment rate was also unchanged at 1.0%. However, total employment was slightly lower than the level a year ago."

"Analyzed by major sector, the unemployment rate of the retail, accommodation and food services sectors taken together increased further over the preceding three-month period, amid weak local consumption and plunging visitor arrivals caused by the recent social incidents. The unemployment rate of the construction sector went down from the preceding three-month period, but employment of the sector continued to show a year-on-year decline due to subdued construction activities."

Looking ahead, Dr. Law said, "As economic conditions have deteriorated further lately, the local labor market will unavoidably be subject to increasing pressure in the near term. The Government will monitor the labor market closely."

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