Pedestrians cross a road in front of a vacant shop in Hong Kong on Dec 9, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

HONG KONG – The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong fell 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent for the period between October and December 2022 compared with September to November 2022, the Census and Statistics Department announced on Thursday.

The underemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to 1.5 percent during the period, data issued by the department showed.

Total employment increased by around 8,300 to 3,665,300 while the labor force decreased by around 4,400 to 3,791,300.

There were 126,000 unemployed people from October to December, a drop of about 12,700 from the preceding period. The number of underemployed went down by around 4,400 to 55,300.

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The combined unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors fell 0.3 percentage points from the preceding three-month period to 4.7 percent. 

The unemployment rates of most other sectors also declined, particularly for the construction sector, the transportation sector and the education sector.

Secretary for Labor and Welfare Chris Sun said the labor market should continue to improve in the near term.

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“With most social distancing measures removed by the government and normal travel between Hong Kong and the mainland gradually resumed, domestic economic activities are likely to show a more visible revival, lending further support to the labor market,” he said, adding that the tightened financial conditions may partly offset the positive effects.