ECONOMY, HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Labour market remains 'austere' in June-August

F&B unemployment rate remained high at 14.4% during this period.

The labour market, particularly for the consumption and tourism-related sectors, remained subdued in June-August amidst a new wave of coronavirus outbreaks in the city which continues to disrupt various economic, official data showed.

The Census & Statistic Department (C&SD) revealed that the underemployment rate in these sectors was at 10.9%, edging up 0.1 percentage points (ppt) from the May-July period. This is the highest since the SARS onslaught 18 years ago.

Overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.1% over the same period. However, the underemployment rate increased from 3.5% in May-July 2020 to 3.8% in June-August—the highest post-SARS.

“The labour market remained austere in June - August 2020 as the third wave of local epidemic in July and August had continued to disrupt a wide range of economic activities, notwithstanding that the Employment Support Scheme had continued to provide support,” said Law Chi-kwong, secretary for labour and welfare.

Meanwhile, total employment and labour force narrowed slightly, to 5.5% YoY and 2.1% respectively You, compared to June-August 2019.

Amongst the consumption and tourism sectors, the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate for food and beverage (F&B) service activities were elevated at 14.4% and 8.3% respectively, according to Law.

The unemployment rate and the underemployment rate of the construction sector also stayed high at 11.1% and 8.1% respectively.

The underemployment situation in many other sectors also deteriorated, particularly in transportation, insurance, and education, he added.

Law expects the labour market to remain under pressure in the near term.

"Whilst the local epidemic situation has started to ease gradually in September, the global pandemic is still fluctuating in a rising trend and the overall economic situation remains weak,” he said.

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