HONG KONG, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's jobless rate remained high during the June-August period as the COVID-19 epidemic continued to weigh on the economy.
The unemployment rate stood at 6.1 percent during the past three months, flat with that of the May-July period, data of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government showed Thursday.
Meanwhile, the underemployment rate increased to a post-SARS high of 3.8 percent during the June-August period from 3.5 percent in the previous three months ending July.
Law Chi-kwong, secretary for labor and welfare, said the labor market remained austere as the third wave of local epidemic disrupted a wide range of economic activities.
The consumption- and tourism-related sectors including retail and accommodation were hit the hardest by the epidemic, with a combined unemployment rate rising to 10.9 percent in the June-August period, the highest since the SARS outbreak in 2003. The underemployment rate gained by 0.9 percentage point to 5.9 percent.
Of all, the two rates for food and beverage service activities even spiked to 14.4 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. The construction, transportation, insurance and education sectors also struggled amid the epidemic.
Looking ahead, Law said the labor market will remain under pressure in the near term and promised the government will monitor the situation closely and roll out measures as necessary.
The HKSAR government has rolled out unprecedented economic relief worth more than 300 billion Hong Kong dollars (38.7 billion U.S. dollars) in total to fight COVID-19 and help businesses and residents weather out the hardships, including measures on job retention and creation. Enditem