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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.4% in the period between July and September, the highest in close to 16 years, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.

The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8% during the period.

Total employment decreased by 15,600 to 3,624,800 while the labour force fell by 4,200 to 3,884,600.

There were 259,800 unemployed people in the period, an increase of 11,500 from the period between June and August, while 149,100 people were underemployed, about the same as that in the period between June and August.

Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong said the labour market deteriorated for the third quarter as a whole amid the third wave of the local epidemic, particularly in July and August, but the pressure faced by the labour market showed signs of stabilisation towards the end of the quarter as the local epidemic situation abated in September and the Employment Support Scheme continued to provide support.

He noted that the underemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8%, adding the year-on-year decline in total employment widened to 5.8%, while that in the labour force remained at 2.1%.

Analysed by sector, the unemployment rate of the consumption and tourism-related sectors, including the retail, accommodation and food services sectors combined surged by 0.8 percentage points to 11.7%, the highest since the onslaught of SARS.

The underemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points to 6.3%.

Among those sectors, the unemployment and the underemployment rate for food and beverage service activities soared to 15.2% and 9.5%. The construction sector’s unemployment and underemployment rate stayed elevated at 10.9% and 8.3%.

Meanwhile, the unemployment situation in many other sectors deteriorated, particularly in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

Looking ahead, Dr Law said as the overall economic situation remains weak and the global pandemic is still evolving, the labour market will remain under pressure in the near term.

The Government has rolled out relief measures on an unprecedented scale, including a series of measures on job retention and creation, which help keep workers in employment.

It will continue to monitor the situation closely, he added.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News