,Hong Kong

Jobless rate fell to 6.8% in March, as fourth wave receded

This represents an improvement from the record high of 7.2% between December 2020-February 2021.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 6.8% in January to March 2021, from 7.2% in December 2020 to February 2021, the Census and Statistics Department has advised.

The underemployment rate also dropped by 0.2 points to 3.8% from 4% in the same period.

Total employment rose by 4,000 to 3.6 million in the first quarter of the year; whilst the labour force climbed 2,200 to 3.9 million.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed persons fell by 1,800 to 259,800; whereas the underemployed decreased by 6,200 to 148,400.

"The labour market was under notable pressure in the first quarter of 2021, but the situation stabilised in the latter part of the quarter as the fourth wave of the local epidemic receded,” Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said.

According to a breakdown of unemployment statistics by sector, the unemployment rate of the consumption and tourism-related sectors fell by 0.4 percentage points to 10.7% in the same period.

The jobless rate also decreased “notably” in the human health activities sector; while the job situation in other sectors varied, but was “generally small in magnitude.”

"As the pace of recovery is uneven across sectors and inbound tourism remains in the doldrums, the labour market may still face challenges in the near term,” Law said.

“Nevertheless, if the local epidemic situation continues to be contained, the operating environment for consumer-facing economic sectors may improve and this should help ease the pressure on the labour market."

The department will continue to partner with employers to organize job fairs for different sectors.

As of March 2021, the department recorded some 84,421 vacancies in the private sector, higher by 50.1% against the February 2021 and March 2020 figures.

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