Published: 18:54, March 17, 2022 | Updated: 18:56, March 17, 2022
HK's jobless rate rises to 4.5%
By Wang Zhan

People walk across a bridge in downtown Hong Kong on March 15, 2022. (DALE DE LA REY / AFP)

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's jobless rate increased over the past three months amid the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, official data showed Thursday.

The unemployment rate in the global financial hub rose to 4.5 percent during the December to February period, up from 3.9 percent seen between November and January, the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said in a report.

The unemployment rate in the global financial hub rose to 4.5 percent during the December to February period, up from 3.9 percent seen between November and January, the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said in a report

The underemployment rate also went up from 1.8 percent to 2.3 percent during the same period.

Almost all major economic sectors saw an increase in both the unemployment rate and underemployment rate, with more distinct increases in the unemployment rate observed in the construction sector; retail, accommodation and food services sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector. 

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Increases in the underemployment rate were mainly seen in the retail, accommodation and food services sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

During the period, total employment decreased by around 33,700 to 3,642,800 while the labor force also decreased by around 11,000 to 3,800,700.

Secretary for Labor and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the labor market deteriorated sharply due to the fifth wave of infections, with the number of unemployed persons increasing by 22,700 to 157,900.

Among the sectors, the unemployment rate for food and beverage service activities surged by 1.9 percentage points to 8.1 percent.

READ MORE: Hong Kong's unemployment rate falls to 4.1%

Looking ahead, Law said the labour market will continue to face pressure in the near term, as the local pandemic situation is weighing heavily on consumption-related activities and causing disruptions to a wide range of economic activities.

“While the relief measures adopted by the government should render some support, the labour market development going forward would hinge on how the local epidemic evolves,” Law said. 

“It is thus essential for the community to work in unison to support the government to put the local epidemic under control as swiftly as possible,” he added.