Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady at 3-Year High

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong remained unchanged at 3.4 percent in three months to April of 2016, compared to the previous period while staying at the highest level since late 2013. The underemployment rate was also steady at 1.4 percent. Amid the setback in inbound tourism and weaker local consumption, the unemployment rate rose in retail, accommodation and food services, followed by seasonal increase in construction sector.

Comparing the three months to April of 2016 with the previous period, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 3 800 to 134 200. The number of underemployed persons was 53 300, about the same (53 400) as in January - March 2016.

The unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) saw a rise in the construction sector (+0.5 percent), reflecting the seasonality factor, the recent property market consolidation and the fall-off in construction activity. At the same time, amid the setback in inbound tourism and weaker local consumption, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) went up further by 0.2 percentage point to 5.3 percent, with employment registering a year-on-year decline for the 12th consecutive period. In contrast, decreases were mainly seen in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector as well as information and communications sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the retail sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities sector.

Total employment decreased by around 5 200 to 3.806 million while the labour force decreased by around 1 400 to 3.940 million.

On the short-term outlook, the Government spokesman for Labour and Welfare said that the near-term employment outlook remains overshadowed by the strong external headwinds and a slow-growing local economy. The weakening labour demand in sectors relating to trade, tourism and construction also warrant particular concern. 

Hong Kong Jobless Rate Steady at 3-Year High

Yekaterina Guchshina | yekaterina@tradingeconomics.com
5/17/2016 10:36:13 AM