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

Unemployment rate remains at 6.1%


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September 17, 2020 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for June - August 2020) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 6.1% in June - August 2020, the same as that in May - July 2020. The underemployment rate increased from 3.5% in May - July 2020 to 3.8% in June - August 2020.

Comparing June - August 2020 with May - July 2020, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied, but were generally small in magnitude. As to the underemployment rate, increases were concentrated in the food and beverage service activities sector; transportation sector; insurance sector; and education sector.

Total employment increased by around 3,400 from 3,637,000 in May - July 2020 to 3,640,400 in June - August 2020. Over the same period, the labor force also increased by around 9,300 from 3,879,500 to 3,888,800.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 5,800 from 242,500 in May - July 2020 to 248,300 in June - August 2020. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 13,200 from 136,000 to 149,200.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, “The labor market remained austere in June - August 2020 as the third wave of local epidemic in July and August had continued to disrupt a wide range of economic activities, notwithstanding that the Employment Support Scheme had continued to provide support. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6.1% in June - August 2020, unchanged from May - July 2020, but the underemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage point to a post-SARS high of 3.8%. Meanwhile, the year-on-year rates of decline in total employment and labor force narrowed slightly, to 5.5% and 2.1% respectively.

“Analyzed by sector, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) combined edged up by 0.1 percentage point from May - July 2020 to 10.9% in June - August 2020, the highest since the onslaught of SARS; while the underemployment rate surged again by 0.9 percentage point to 5.9%. Among these sectors, the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate for food and beverage service activities were elevated at 14.4% and 8.3% respectively. The unemployment rate and the underemployment rate of the construction sector also stayed high at 11.1% and 8.1% respectively. Meanwhile, the underemployment situation in many other sectors deteriorated, particularly in transportation, insurance, and education.”

Looking ahead, Dr Law said, “While the local epidemic situation has started to ease gradually in September, the global pandemic is still fluctuating in a rising trend and the overall economic situation remains weak. The labor market will remain under pressure in the near term. 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 and roll out measures as necessary.”

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