Hong Kong’s unemployment rate has risen by 0.1 per cent since September after taking a hit from “local social incidents,” according to the latest government-released data.

The unemployment rate of the food and beverage service activities sector increased to 6.2 per cent – the highest level in more than eight years, data released by the Census and Statistics Department on Tuesday has revealed.

Hong Kong people
People in Hong Kong. File Photo: GovHK.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.1 per cent in August to October 2019 to 3.2 per cent in September to November 2019.

“The labour market eased further as economic conditions continued to worsen,” the Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said. “The year-on-year decline in total employment widened further.”

“Hard hit by local social incidents, the unemployment rate of the consumption-and tourism-related segment ([namely] retail, accommodation and food services sectors as a whole) rose further to a three-year high of 5.2 per cent,” he added.

“In particular, the unemployment rate of the food and beverage service activities sector increased to 6.2 per cent, the highest level in more than eight years. The unemployment rates of many other sectors also recorded increases.”

victoria park "december 9" aerial civil front
A protest in Hong Kong. Photo: Benjamin Yuen/USP.

Hong Kong has entered its seventh month of unrest, initially over a now-withdrawn extradition agreement proposal with mainland China. The movement has since evolved into calls for an investigation into alleged police misconduct since June, the unconditional release of all arrested protesters, retraction of the term “riot,” as well as democratic reform.

Law said the labour market will be under even more pressure in the coming term if the overall economy continues to weaken. “The Government will monitor the developments closely,” he added.

Law Chi-kwong
Law Chi-kwong. Photo: GovHK.

Total employment decreased from 3,843,800 in August to October 2019, to 3,830,600 in September to November 2019 – representing a drop of 13,200. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased from 3,969,300 to 3,956,000, representing a drop of 13,300.

The underemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous season at 1.2 per cent.

The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from findings by the continuous General Household Survey. The survey from September to November 2019 covered a sample of around 26,000 households or 74,000 persons.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.