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The figure went down 0.4% from the January to March period.

Hong Kong's unemployment rate dropped to 6.4% again between February and April even as the COVID-19 situation eases in the city. The figure went down 0.4% from the January to March period, as revealed by the Census and Statistics Department on Thursday (20 May).

The underemployment rate also decreased from 3.8% to 3.3% in this three-month rolling period.

Looking more closely, the unemployment rate decreased across almost all the major economic sectors, with more distinct decreases observed in the construction sector, and retail, accommodation and food services sector. Precisely, the combined unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (i.e. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) fell by 0.8 percentage point to 9.9%. What's more, the jobless rate of food and beverage service activities and construction sector declined from 1.2% to 12.1% and dropped by 0.6% to 10.9% respectively.

The Secretary for Labour Department and Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong explained that the majority of the fall in the unemployment rate - the second in a row - was due to the improving pandemic trends in the city. 

In terms of the underemployment rate, in addition to the construction sector, and retail, accommodation and food services sector, decreases were also mainly seen in transportation sector, and arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

Looking ahead, Law said, "Considering that the business receipts of many labour-intensive sectors are still far below the pre-recession levels, the labour market will take time to attain a more visible recovery. Nonetheless, if the local epidemic remains well-contained, the pressure on the labour market will gradually ease in the period ahead.

"To create more favourable conditions for the revival of consumer-facing and tourism-related activities, it is essential for the community to work together to keep the epidemic under control and actively participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. The government will continue to monitor the situation closely."

The number of people in employment between February and April 2021 increased by 7,900. Meanwhile, those classed as unemployed fell by 12,300.

The survey for February - April 2021 covered a sample of some 26,000 households or 73,000 people. 

Photo/ The Star