Jobless rate rises to 4.5%

March 17, 2022

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed to 4.5% for the period between December 2021 and February 2022, rising notably by 0.6 percentage points compared with the previous period from November 2021 to January 2022, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.


The underemployment rate increased to 2.3% during the period.


Total employment dropped by about 33,700 to 3,642,800 while the labour force fell by about 11,000 to 3,800,700.


There were 157,900 unemployed people from December 2021 to February 2022, an increase of around 22,700 from the preceding three-month period. The number of underemployed people rose by around 17,100 to 86,900.


Commenting on the figures, Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong said the labour market deteriorated sharply due to the fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.


Analysed by sector, the unemployment rate of the consumption and tourism-related sectors combined increased notably by 1.4 percentage points over the preceding three-month period to 6.9%. Among these sectors, the unemployment rate for food and beverage service activities surged 1.9 percentage points to 8.1%.


Meanwhile, the unemployment rates of the construction sector and the arts, entertainment and recreation sector swelled by 1.5 and 2.9 percentage points to 6.2% and 8.2% respectively.


Looking ahead, Dr Law explained that he expects the labour market will continue to face pressure in the near term as the acute local epidemic is weighing heavily on consumption-related activities and causing disruptions to a wide range of economic activities. 


While the Government’s relief measures should render some support, labour market development would hinge on how the local epidemic evolves.


“It is thus essential for the community to work in unison to support the Government to put the local epidemic under control as swiftly as possible,” he added.

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