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

Unemployment and underemployment statistics for August - October 2020


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November 17, 2020 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for August - October 2020) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 6.4% in August - October 2020, same as that in July - September 2020. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 3.8% in the two periods.

Comparing August - October 2020 with July - September 2020, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. A relatively notable decrease was observed in the retail, accommodation and food services sector, while an increase was mainly seen in the transportation sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the education sector, while an increase was mainly observed in the transportation sector.

Total employment increased by around 2,900 from 3,624,800 in July - September 2020 to 3,627,700 in August - October 2020. The labor force in August - October 2020 was 3,885,500, about the same as that in July - September 2020 (3,884,600).

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 2,000 from 259,800 in July - September 2020 to 257,800 in August - October 2020. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1,100 from 149,100 to 148,000.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, “Labor market conditions remained difficult, but showed further signs of stabilization as the local epidemic situation stayed contained during that period. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6.4% in August - October 2020, unchanged from July - September 2020. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 3.8%. Total employment saw a slightly narrowed decline of 5.6% on a year-on-year comparison, and turned to a marginal increase of 0.1% over the preceding three-month period.

“Analyzed by sector, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) combined declined by 0.5 percentage point from July - September 2020 to 11.2% in August - October 2020. Among these sectors, the unemployment rate for food and beverage service activities eased to 14.8%. On the other hand, the unemployment rate of the transportation sector surged by 0.6 percentage point to 6.2%, the highest in close to 17 years. The unemployment rates in other sectors showed diverse movements.”

Looking ahead, Dr Law said, “While the overall economic situation saw some improvement in recent months, hiring sentiments among employers would probably remain cautious, especially when the economic outlook is still clouded by the evolving pandemic situation. The labor market will remain under pressure in the near term. The Government has already rolled out relief measures of unprecedented scale, including a host of measures to create and stabilize employment. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

He noted that the Labour Department (LD) has all along provided comprehensive and free employment services through its job centers, industry-based recruitment centers and on-line platforms etc, to offer employment support for job-seekers. All job centers provide personalized employment advisory services. Employment officers will provide job-seekers with job search advice and information on the job market and training/retraining courses, conduct career aptitude assessment, etc in accordance with their individual needs and preferences, and match them with suitable jobs.

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