People wearing face masks walk on a street in Hong Kong, March 5, 2022. (LO PING FAI / XINHUA)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate eased to 5.1 percent in the March-May period, the government said on Friday, thanks to a moderated local epidemic, relaxation of social distancing measures, and support from a consumption voucher scheme.
In the February-April period, the unemployment rate rose to 5.4 percent, highest since 2021.
Total employment during the March-May period dropped by about 5,400 to 3,553,800 while the labor force fell by about 20,100 to 3,745,200, according to data released by the Census and Statistics Department.
The jobless rate for food and beverage service activities fell sharply by 1.9 percentage points to 11.0 percent
The underemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent during the period.
Almost all major sectors saw a decrease in both the unemployment rate and underemployment rate.
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The unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors and food services sectors combined fell visibly by 1.2 percentage points from the preceding three-month period to 8.8 percent.
Among these sectors, the jobless rate for food and beverage service activities fell sharply by 1.9 percentage points to 11.0 percent, and that of the retail sector declined by 0.9 percentage point to 7. percent.
As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the retail, accommodation and food services sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
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“Looking ahead, provided that the local epidemic remains under control, domestic economic activities and thus labour market conditions should continue to improve in the coming months,” said Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong.