Hong Kong's jobless rate rises to a 16-year high - RTHK
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Hong Kong's jobless rate rises to a 16-year high

2020-10-20 HKT 17:35
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  • The latest official data shows more than 250,000 people are jobless in Hong Kong. File photo: RTHK
    The latest official data shows more than 250,000 people are jobless in Hong Kong. File photo: RTHK
Cecil Wong reports
The unemployment rate in Hong Kong has risen to 6.4 percent – the highest in about 16 years, with some sectors breaching levels seen during the Sars outbreak.

Data released by the government on Tuesday showed the jobless rate for the three-month period ending September had increased by 0.3 percentage points from the previous period.

The number out of work reached 259,800 by the end of last month.

The city's unemployment rate has been increasing for months as the pandemic decimates trade and travel, from around 2.9 percent about a year ago.

In the latest period covering July to September this year, the jobless figure for sectors relating to consumption and tourism surged hit 11.7 percent, the highest level since the onslaught of Sars in 2003.

Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong said the overall jobless figure is the highest in nearly 16 years.

"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," he said in a statement.

But the minister said he saw the pressure faced by the labour market showing signs of stabilisation as the local pandemic situation steadied last month.

He warned, however, that the outlook for the local labour market remains pessimistic.

"As the overall economic situation remains weak and the global pandemic is still evolving, the labour market will remain under pressure in the near term," Law said.

He said the SAR government has rolled out relief measures "on an unprecedented scale", to help workers keep their jobs.