Nearly 12,000 people were thrown out of their jobs in the three months from December as the coronavirus outbreak played havoc with the economy.
The latest unemployment rate, for the three months between December and February, came in at 3.7 percent, the highest in nine years.
That's up from 3.4 percent for the three months ending January.
The job market worsened in almost all major sectors, with construction, retail, accommodation and food services the worst hit, as the threat of coronavirus brought inbound tourism to a standstill and dealt a severe blow to consumption-related businesses.
For the consumption and tourism-related sectors, the jobless rate surged to 6.1 percent – the highest in about a decade. Food and beverage services also saw the unemployment figure soar to 7.5 percent.
Workers in the construction and transportation trades didn't fare much better, amid a visible slowdown in building work and a sharp fall in people and cargo flows.
Overall, the number of people who were out of a job increased by around 11,800 to 134,100 in the three-month period.
The number of people who were under-employed also rose by around 11,800 to 59,100.
The underemployment rate edged up from 1.2 percent to 1.5 percent – a five-year high.
The Secretary for Labour, Law Chi-kwong, said the labour market has deteriorated sharply and it would be subject to even greater pressure in the near term, and the exact impact depends on how long and serious the global pandemic becomes.
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