In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong slapped with first rise in unemployment rate in 6 months

Unemployment rate increased for the first time since February-April - but by how much?

In a release, the Census & Statistics Department announced the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.2% in July-September to 3.3% in August-October, the first rise since February-April.

The underemployment rate fell from 1.7% in July-September to 1.6% in August-October.

Total employment, having followed an uptrend for seven consecutive months, dropped by 2,300 to 3,640,100 in August-October. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 of a percentage point to 3.3%.

Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung said the Hong Kong economy will continue to be affected by the worsening external conditions amidst the deepening Eurozone debt crisis and the subdued economic growth in the US.

“Employers generally are expected to remain cautious towards staff hiring. We will continue to be vigilant and closely monitor developments,” he said.

“Since the implementation of the statutory minimum wage, the number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department has stayed at a high level of over 3,000 per working day on average. This level has been maintained in November so far. The department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive and free employment services to job-seekers."

Comparing August-October with July-September, increases in the unemployment rate were mainly observed in the construction, import-export trade and wholesale, as well as cleaning and similar activities sectors. As for the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the construction as well as the cleaning and similar activities sectors.

The labour force decreased from 3,769,400 in July-September to 3,765,200 in August-October.

The number of unemployed dropped from 127,100 in July-September to 125,100 in August-October. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased from 65,800 to 58,800.

The number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department rose 17.1% from 73,174 in September to 85,716 in October, and grew by 20.4% on the same period last year. 

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