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

Unemployment rate rises to 6.3%


January 19, 2021 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for October - December 2020) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 6.3% in September - November 2020 to 6.6% in October - December 2020. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.4% in the two periods.

Comparing October - December 2020 with September - November 2020, the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) increased across almost all the major economic sectors, with a more distinct increase observed in the retail, accommodation and food services sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector while an increase was mainly observed in the retail sector.

Total employment decreased by around 2,400 from 3,650,100 in September - November 2020 to 3,647,700 in October - December 2020. The labor force in October - December 2020 was 3,893,400, about the same as that in September - November 2020 (3,894,400).

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1,500 from 244,300 in September - November 2020 to 245,800 in October - December 2020. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 700 from 133,100 to 133,800.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, “The labor market deteriorated again due to the fourth wave of local epidemic which started in the latter part of November. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point from September - November 2020 to 6.6% in October - December 2020, the highest in 16 years, while the underemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.4%. Meanwhile, total employment edged down by 0.1% from the preceding three-month period to 3,647,700, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 0.6% to 245,800.”

Looking ahead, Dr Law said, “As the fourth wave of local epidemic continues to weigh on local consumption sentiment and disrupt economic activities, the labor market will remain under notable pressure in the near term. The Government has rolled out targeted measures lately to provide further support to the hard-hit sectors, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

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