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



Unemployment rate edged up to 3.3%

 



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January 21, 2020 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for October - December 2019) released by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.2% in September - November 2019 to 3.3% in October - December 2019. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.2% in the two periods.

Comparing October - December 2019 with September - November 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 decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the manufacturing sector while an increase was mainly observed in the food and beverage service activities sector.

Total employment decreased by around 12 800 from 3 830 600 in September - November 2019 to 3 817 800 in October - December 2019. Over the same period, the labor force also decreased by around 14 200 from 3 956 000 to 3 941 800.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by 1 400 from 125 400 in September - November 2019 to 124 000 in October - December 2019. The number of underemployed persons in October - December 2019 was 47 400, about the same as that in September - November 2019 (46 900).

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, Hong Kong Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr. Law Chi-kwong said, "The labor market slackened further as economic conditions stayed weak. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 3.3% in October - December 2019, while the underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.2%. The year-on-year decline in total employment widened further."

"Business of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) remained in the doldrums. The unemployment rate of these sectors combined stayed at a three-year high of 5.2%; and the underemployment rate rose visibly when compared to the preceding period, particularly for those working in food and beverage service activities. Employment in these sectors continued to record a sharp fall on a year-on-year basis. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate of the construction sector, particularly of those involved in decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, deteriorated visibly when compared to the preceding period."

Looking ahead, Dr. Law said, "The labor market will be subject to even more pressure in the near term if the overall economy stays weak. The Government will monitor the developments closely."


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