Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 5% in Q1 this year, up 0.5 percentage points compared to Q4.

This is according to data published by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government’s Census and Statistics Department.

The underemployment rate in Hong Kong during the first three months of the year also rose to 3.1%, a 0.8 percentage point hike. Total employment declined by 54,000 to 3,610,500.

In the first quarter of 2022, there were 188,500 unemployed people in Hong Kong between January and March, a rise of around 26,900 from the prior quarter.

In comparison to the period between December 2021 and February 2022, nearly all key sectors of the economy experienced a rise in the unemployment rate and underemployment rate from January to March.

In regard to the unemployment rate, the construction, retail, accommodation and food services sectors saw prominent increases, along with arts, entertainment and recreation. There were also increases reported in the underemployment rate in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

"The labour market was under severe pressure amid the fifth wave of the local epidemic," according to Law Chi-kwong, secretary for labour and welfare of the HKSAR government.

Law added that businesses in consumption-related sectors should see gradual improvement and bolster employment within these sectors.

The labour secretary went on to say that the government has implemented several relief measures to provide support to businesses and keep people employed, such as the upcoming 2022 Employment Support Scheme, and people need to work with the government to get the local epidemic under control as soon as possible.

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