Hong Kong's unemployment rate remains at 3.9%

COVID-19, however, is expected to further put pressure on Hong Kong's labour market

Hong Kong's unemployment rate remains at 3.9%

Unemployment rate in Hong Kong stayed at 3.9% from November 2021 to January 2022, according to the figures released by the Census and Statistics Department.

According to a media release, the unemployment rate in food and beverage service activities sector increased by 0.3 percentage point to 6.2%. Unemployment in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector also hiked by 1.3 percentage points to stand at 5.3% in the past three months.

"This is because the worsened local epidemic situation in January 2022 hindered activities in these sectors," read the statement from the Hong Kong government.

Despite this, unemployment rate in other sectors began declining, including the manufacturing sector, transportation, storage, postal and courier services, as well as the information and communications sector.

Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong attributed the current unemployment figures to the fifth wave of the local epidemic situation in Hong Kong.

"The fifth wave of local epidemic began to weigh on the labour market. Although the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November 2021 - January 2022 remained at 3.9%, same as that in October - December 2021, the underemployment rate turned to increase by 0.1 percentage point to 1.8% over the period," the secretary said.

"Total employment turned to decline by 4,200 to 3,676,500, while the labour force declined further by 12,300 to 3,811,700," the official added.

The figures were released on Monday, as Hong Kong sees a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the spread of the Omicron variant in the financial hub, a situation that is expected to worsen the labour market there.

"The deterioration in the local epidemic situation of late will pose further pressure on the labour market," Law said, stressing that the development of the epidemic situation will affect the outlook of the labour market there.

"It is thus essential for the community to work in unison to help and support the government to put the local epidemic under control as swiftly as possible. The government will continue to monitor the situation closely," Law said.

Read more: Hong Kong set to raise minimum wage

Assistance to employers

With the current epidemic situation affecting local businesses, Law said the sixth round of measures under the Anti-Epidemic Fun should "render some support" to organisations hit by COVID.

According to the secretary, the fund is expected to benefit 67,000 businesses, operators of 40,000 transport tools, and 750,000 individuals.

With over 97,000 monthly average vacancies in the private sector from November to January, jobseekers are also urged to make use of the Labour Department's Interactive Employment Service website for obtaining more vacancy information.

The department is also planning on carrying out a job fair on March 30 and 31, with about 50 employers expected to offer large amount of job vacancies across various industries.

Hong Kong said its latest labour force survey covered 25,000 households, or 69,000 people, which were selected based on a scientifically designed sampling scheme to represent the financial hub's population.

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