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Fears and woes increase over Hong Kong unemployment

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Hong Kong’s overall unemployment rose to 3.4% in the first quarter of 2016.

The figure is up by 0.1% from the period of December 2015 to February, reported the Census & Statistics Department yesterday, April 19. Underemployment also rose by 0.1% to 1.4%.

Rising unemployment was felt in the construction and retail sectors, as underemployment increased in food and beverage services, and in construction as well.

Of the current workforce of 3,942,200, only 3,811,800 are employed. Along with 130,400 unemployed persons, 53,400 remain underemployed. This is the highest jobless rate in Hong Kong since the latter part of 2013.

The Department cited sustained weakness in inbound tourism and slackened growth momentum in local consumption as contributing factors in Hong Kong’s employment state, as well as a weakening external economy, and currency depreciation and relaxed visa restrictions for Mainland China tourists in neighbouring destinations.

Retail and accommodation services suffered most, as unemployment in these sectors respectively rose by 0.4% and 1.8% from the previous year, to 5.5% and 5.2%, both higher than overall unemployment.

Last week, Hong Disneyland reportedly dismissed close to 100 staff. The theme park experienced a HK$148 million loss in 2015. Labour & Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung urged employers to find other means of cutting costs rather than laying off employees.

Source: Information and Services Department

Photo: Hamedog at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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