ECONOMY, HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Unemployment widens to 6.2% in Q2

Underemployment rate similarly inched up to 3.7%.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate broadened from 5.9% in the March-May period to 6.2% in April-June, according to data from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD). This marks the highest figure recorded in more than 15 years.

"The labour market continued to deteriorate for the second quarter of 2020 as a whole, but the pressure faced by the labour market showed signs of easing towards the end of the quarter as the local epidemic situation abated in May and June,” said Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr. Law Chi-kwong.

The number of unemployed persons edged up from 230,400 in March-May to 240,700 in the same quarter. Underemployment rate similarly inched up from 3.5% in March-May to 3.7% in Q2, rising from 135,100 to 142,900 over the same period.

The unemployment rate grew across almost all the major economic sectors, with more distinct increases observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector; import and export trade sector; and warehousing and support activities for transportation sector. Underemployment was also seen rising in the transportation sector and education sector.

"Analysed by sector, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors combined edged up to 10.7% in April - June 2020, the highest since August - October 2003 after the onslaught of SARS, but their combined underemployment rate eased somewhat. The unemployment rate for food and beverage service activities stayed near the post-SARS high, at 14.7%,” Chi-kwong added.

Total employment in Q2 was at about 3.62 million, about the same as in March-May. The labour force rose by around 11,100 from 3.85 million in March-May to 3.86 million in Q2.

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