Hong Kong sees slight dip in unemployment rate
Hong Kong saw its unemployment rate dip slightly to 6.1% for the period between May and July, likely helped by the newly launched government wage subsidy.
The country is still reeling from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen the country hit its highest jobless rate in more than 15 years.
But there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel as the latest slight improvement from a jobless rate of 6.2% between April to June ended a nine-month run of rising unemployment.
Businesses and workers were given a much-needed lifeline through a HK$81 billion six-month wage subsidy plan known as the Employment Support Scheme.
During the June-August period, about 140,000 companies secured HK$43.9 billion, or 54%, of the subsidy and about 1.9 million employees, or half of the working population, were subsidised by HK$23,000 on average per person during the three-month period.
However, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong warned that it would be a long road to recovery for Hong Kong’s labour market, which is not helped by the country’s return to near total lockdown mode in early July due to a third wave of COVID-19 outbreak.
“The recent surges in infected cases both worldwide and locally have further clouded Hong Kong’s economic outlook for the rest of the year,” he was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post.
“To preserve the vitality of the economy, the government has rolled out relief measures of unprecedented scale, including a series of measures on job retention and job creation, which help keep workers in employment.”