Pedestrians walk past a vacant shop in the Tai Hang district of Hong Kong on Sept 17, 2021. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s unemployment rate in the last three months rose to 5.0 percent amid "severe pressure" due to the fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, latest government statistics released on Thursday showed.
The city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 4.5 percent from December to February to 5.0 percent from January to March. The rate of underemployment, which measures the number of workers who are employed only a few hours a week, also increased from 3.1 percent in the last three months, the Census and Statistics Department said.
The city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 4.5 percent from December to February to 5.0 percent from 5.0 percent from January to March
Almost all major economic sectors saw an increase in both the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate.
More distinct increases were observed in the jobless rate in the construction sector; retail, accommodation and food services sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
Total employment fell by 54,000 from the preceding three-month period to 3,610,500, while the number of unemployed persons increased by 26,900 to 188,500.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the labor market was "under severe pressure amid the fifth wave of the pandemic".
"While the labour market will still be subject to pressure in the near term, with the easing local epidemic situation of late, together with the launch of a new round of consumption vouchers, the business of the consumption-related sectors should gradually improve and thus support employment in these sectors,” Law said.
He noted that the government has been rolling out various relief measures, including the upcoming 2022 Employment Support Scheme, to support enterprises and help keep workers employed.
“It is essential for the community to work in unison to support the government to put the local epidemic under control as swiftly as possible,” Law said, adding that the government will continue to monitor the situation closely.
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