Oct 21, 2020 07:47 PM

Chart of the Day: Hong Kong Unemployment Hits Nearly 16-Year High

Hong Kong’s unemployment rate hit a nearly 16-year high in the three months to September amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The city’s jobless rate increased to 6.4% for the July-to-September period, up from 6.1% for the June-to-August period, data from its Census and Statistics Department showed Tuesday. The reading was the highest since January 2005.


The number of unemployed people rose by about 11,500 to 259,800 in the July-to-September period from the preceding period, the data showed. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8% in the two three-month periods.

“The labour market deteriorated for the third quarter of 2020 as a whole amid the third wave of the local epidemic, particularly in July and August,” Secretary for Labor and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said in a release on Tuesday. “(B)ut the pressure faced by the labour market showed signs of stabilisation towards the end of the quarter as the local epidemic situation abated in September.”

In July, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong rose rapidly after the city relaxed control measures for incoming personnel, leading to community infections, Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the Hong Kong Medical Association’s advisory committee on communicable diseases, told local media previously.

In the July-to-September period, unemployment increased across almost all major economic sectors, with particular growth observed in retail, accommodation and food services, as well as arts, entertainment and recreation, according to the Tuesday release.

Joblessness across consumption- and tourism-related sectors surged by 0.8 percentage points to 11.7% in the July-to-September period from the June-to-August period, the highest since the onslaught of the severe acute respiratory syndrome — better known as SARS — crisis in 2003, the data showed.

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi ( and editor Joshua Dummer (

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