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Hong Kong Unemployment Surges to Record High in Wake of Coronavirus Outbreak

By Liu Yanfei and Lu Yutong / Feb 19, 2020 03:55 PM / Economy

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Hong Kong’s unemployment surged to a three-year high as consumption figures plunged in the city caused by months of unrest and the Covid-19 outbreak. Economists forecast the Asian financial center could post an unprecedented second year of economic contraction in a row.

The city’s unemployment rate rose to 3.4% for the period of November 2019 to January this year, the highest since 2017, data from the Hong Kong government said Tuesday. As of January, Hong Kong’s unemployment rate has increased for five consecutive months.

“The recent coronavirus infection has seriously disrupted many economic activities, especially tourist-related industries,” said Law Chi-kwong, secretary for Labour and Welfare Bureau in Hong Kong. Industries including retail, catering and lodging have a combined unemployment rate of 5.2% , and it further rose to 5.7% with regards to the construction industry, the highest rate in six years, Law noted.

Hong Kong closed parts of its border crossing with the mainland in early February in an effort to stem the spread of the highly contagious epidemic, and Chinese mainland suspended the issuing of traveling passes to Hong Kong and Macau, which has further hit the city’s economy.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later.

Contact reporter Lu Yutong (

Related: Moody’s Downgrades Hong Kong for ‘Inertia’ Over Protests

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