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

Unemployment rate dips to 6.1%


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August 19, 2020 -According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for May - July 2020) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 6.2% in April - June 2020 to 6.1% in May - July 2020. The underemployment rate also decreased from 3.7% in April - June 2020 to 3.5% in May - July 2020.

Comparing May - July 2020 with April - June 2020, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly seen in the information and communication sector; professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sector; and education sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the retail, accommodation and food services sector.

Total employment increased by around 16,600 from 3,620,400 in April - June 2020 to 3,637,000 in May - July 2020. Over the same period, the labor force also increased by around 18,400 from 3,861,100 to 3,879,500.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1,800 from 240,700 in April - June 2020 to 242,500 in May - July 2020. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 6,900 from 142,900 to 136,000.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, “The labor market remained austere in May - July 2020, but showed some improvement over April - June as the local epidemic situation was largely under control in May and June. The launch of the Employment Support Scheme has also provided support. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point from April - June to 6.1% in May - July 2020, ending the continuous increase for nine moving three-month periods. The underemployment rate also went down by 0.2 percentage point to 3.5%. Meanwhile, the year-on-year rates of decline in total employment and labor force narrowed to 5.7% and 2.4% respectively.

“Analyzed by sector, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) combined edged up to 10.8% in May - July 2020, the highest since the onslaught of SARS, but the underemployment rate eased further. Among these sectors, the unemployment rate for food and beverage service activities stayed near the post-SARS high, at 14.6%. The unemployment rate of the construction sector edged up to 11.3%, the highest since the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Meanwhile, the unemployment situation improved in some sectors, notably in information and communications, professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities), and education.”

Looking ahead, Dr Law said, “The labor market will remain under significant pressure in the near term. The recent surges in infected cases both worldwide and locally have further clouded Hong Kong’s economic outlook for the rest of the year. To preserve the vitality of the economy, the Government has rolled out relief measures of unprecedented scale, including a series of measures on job retention and job creation, which help keep workers in employment. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

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