Hong Kong unemployment rate drops to 5.5%

Hong Kong's employment market is showing signs of improvement as the city's latest unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for the three-month period ending in June. According to the latest labour force statistics from the Census and statistics department (C&SD), the figure for April to June was down 0.5 percentage points from the period from March to May. The latest figure is the lowest since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. From March to May 2020, the unemployment rate reached 5.9%. 

The number of unemployed persons decreased by about 20,200 from 233,300 in March to May 2021 to 213,100 in April to June 2021. Total employment increased by about 9,700 from 3,630,400 in March to May 2021 to 3,640,100 in April to June 2021. Over the same period, the labour force decreased by around 10,600 from 3,863,700 to 3,853,100.

According to the C&SD, the unemployment rate decreased across almost all sectors, with more distinct decreases observed in the construction sector; import or export trade and wholesale sector; retail, accommodation and food services sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector.  Meanwhile, the underemployment rate also decreased from 2.8% in March to May 2021 to 2.5% in April to June 2021. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 11,400 from 107,400 to 96,000.

Law Chi-kwong, secretary for labour and welfare, said, "The labour market showed further improvement as the economy continued to recover alongside the stabilisation of the pandemic and the improved external environment. The labour market should improve further with the continued economic recovery. The Consumption Voucher Scheme will also help."

He added that the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) launched the "Love Upgrading Special Scheme" in October 2019 to provide trainees affected by the economic downturn with training and allowance. The ERB has since completed three tranches of the scheme, and provided 40 000 training slots. The fourth tranche of the scheme was launched in July 2021 for six months until the end of this year, benefiting an additional 20 000 trainees.

Meanwhile, in April to June 2021, the Labour Department recorded a monthly average of 82,377 vacancies from the private sector, representing an increase of 0.6% over the average figure in March to May 2021 and a year-on-year increase of 50.6%. 



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