Hong Kong's unemployment rate inches up to 2.9%

Labour secretary says labour market to 'remain tight in the coming months'

Hong Kong's unemployment rate inches up to 2.9%

Hong Kong's unemployment rate slightly moved up to 2.9% in the August-to-October period following a previous four-year low, according to the latest data from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD).

The unemployment rate moved up 0.1 percentage point from the seasonally adjusted 2.8% recorded between August and October 2023.

According to the department, the higher unemployment comes after movements in the unemployment rate in different industry sectors.

"Relatively notable increases were observed in the manufacturing sector and import and export trade sector. Movements in the underemployment rate in different industry sectors also varied, but the magnitudes were generally not large," the department said in a media release.

The number of unemployed people in Hong Kong increased to 115,800 people during the August to October period, up by around 1,800 individuals from the previous period.

Hong Kong's total employment also decreased by around 6,900 to drop to 3,713,400 in the August to October period.

The financial hub's underemployment rate stayed at one per cent in the two periods, but the number of underemployed people decreased by around 1,200 to 36,700 in August to October 2023.

Chris Sun, Hong Kong's labour and welfare secretary, said the unemployment rate is still at a "low level" despite edging up by 0.1 percentage point.

"Inbound tourism and local consumption would continue to underpin economic growth in the near term," Sun said in a statement. "The labour market should remain tight in the coming months despite some possible negative effects stemming from the difficult external environment."

Vacancies in the private sector

Meanwhile, the Labour Department said there was a monthly average of over 98,000 vacancies in the private sector during the August - October period.

According to the LD, this is a 3.2% decrease from the monthly average recorded between July and September 2023.

This is also a 10.8% year-on-year decrease for the private sector.

To help employers connect with jobseekers, the Hong Kong government is organising large-scale job fairs on November 27 and 28 at the North Point Community Hall.

The Labour Department is estimating the participation of 50 employers that are offering a large number of vacancies.

The latest data comes after Hong Kong businesses previously admitted that they're struggling to find talent as jobseekers look for higher pay and emigration.

To address the talent woes, the Hong Kong government introduced a new labour importation scheme that will deliver 20,000 foreign workers for thee financial hub's construction and transportation sectors.

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