Hong Kong: The battle against the climbing unemployment rate

After a series of unfortunate events due to social unrest and COVID-19 pandemic hitting the shores of Hong Kong, the unemployment rate climbed to an all-time high of 6.6% in the last quarter of 2020. This is the new 16-year peak of unemployment rate in the renowned “Asia’s world city”. 

With tourism fuelling Hong Kong’s economy significantly, it is a tough battle against COVID-19 due to unprecedented travel restrictions. Inevitably, consumer-facing services and tourism-related industries are some of the hardest-hit sectors, as unemployment spikes across companies in these affected industries.

However, this volatility does not remain negative. The employment rate has slightly plateaued and is observed to improve slowly due to the economy’s rebound and the receding of COVID-19 infections. With time, businesses have adapted to telecommunication methods, and this is the beginning of the road to recovery. As Mainland China’s economy picks up, this gradual boost is helping Hong Kong speed up its economic recovery, since Mainland China remains to be Hong Kong’s largest destination for goods imports and exports. 

Hong Kong Secretary for Labor and Welfare – Law Chi-Kwong – highlights that the labour market in Hong Kong continues to be under pressure, but hopes that the battle against the climbing unemployment rate will slowly taper off as the vaccination programme continues to keep COVID-19 under control. Although the future remains uncertain as with most countries globally, Hong Kong sees a glimmer of hope with its slow steps towards a full activation of its economic activities.

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This article is written with reference from:

Cannix Yau. “Hong Kong Fourth Wave: Jobless Rate Hits New 16-Year High of 6.6 per Cent with City Deep in Coronavirus Fight.” South China Morning Post, South China Morning Post, 19 Jan. 2021, www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/hong-kong-economy/article/3118331/hong-kong-fourth-wave-jobless-rate-hits-new-16. Accessed 21 June 2021.

Kwan, Rhoda. “Hong Kong’s Unemployment Rate Falls as Covid Eases, Democrat Urges More Gov’t Support for Jobless | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP.” Hong Kong Free Press HKFP, Hong Kong Free Press HKFP, 20 May 2021, hongkongfp.com/2021/05/20/hong-kongs-unemployment-rate-falls-as-covid-eases-democrat-urges-more-govt-support-for-jobless/. Accessed 21 June 2021.

Lam, Eric. “Hong Kong Jobless Rate Drops for Second Month on Better Economy.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 20 May 2021, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-20/hong-kong-jobless-rate-drops-for-second-month-on-better-economy. Accessed 21 June 2021.