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The construction sector; retail, accommodation and food services sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector saw distinct increases in the unemployment rate.

The strict social distancing measures during the fifth wave of local epidemic seemed to have made a heavy blow across industries in Hong Kong. The impact has been reflected in the latest statistics of unemployment and underemployment for January to March 2022 released by the Census and Statistics Department on 21 April, 2022 (Thursday).

The overall unemployment and underemployment rate both saw an increase, while the unemployment rate rose for the second consecutive moving three-month period with the highest level in nine months.

  December 2021 - February 2022 January - March 2022  +/- 
Unemployment rate 4.5% 5.0% + 0.5%
Underemployment rate 2.3% 3.1% + 0.8%
Total employment 3,664,500 3,610,500 - 54,000
The number of unemployed persons 161,600 188,500 + 26,900
The number of underemployed persons 89,200 117,000 + 27,800

The construction sector; retail, accommodation and food services sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector saw the most distinct increases in unemployment rate. For the underemployment rate, increases were mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

The unemployment rates of most sectors also increased. See the combined unemployment rate of different major economic sectors as follows:

Sectors  January - March 2022  +/-  (percentage points)
Consumption- and tourism-related (viz. retail, accommodation and food services) 8.9% + 1.8
Food and beverage service activities 11.0% + 2.6
Retail 7.7% + 1.4
Construction 8.0% + 1.6
Arts, entertainment and recreation 11.3% + 2.9 

Job vacancies from the private sector also decreased. In January-March 2022, the Labour Department (LD) recorded a monthly average of 59,747 vacancies from the private sector, representing a year-on-year decrease of 2.8% and a whopping drop of 20.5% over the average figure in December 2021 - February 2022.

"While the labour market will still be subject to pressure in the near term, with the easing local epidemic situation of late, together with the launch of a new round of consumption vouchers, the business of the consumption-related sectors should gradually improve and thus support employment in these sectors," said the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong.

"Besides, the Government has been rolling out various relief measures, including the forthcoming 2022 Employment Support Scheme, to support enterprises and help keep workers in employment."


ASLO READ: 41,000 successful applicants of Hong Kong's unemployment relief scheme to get notified starting 19 April 2022


Image / Unsplash

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