Hong Kong, Jan 19 (IANS) Hong Kong's unemployment rate hit a 16-year high in the period between October-December 2020 as the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic further compounded the city's labour market situation, official data revealed on Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 6.3 per cent in the September-November period to 6.6 per cent in the October-December period, the city's Census and Statistics Department said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the underemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.4 per cent, Xinhua news agency reported.
Law Chi-kwong, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, said the unemployment rate in the consumption- and tourism-related sectors, including retail, accommodation and food services, rebounded by 0.5 percentage point to 10.6 per cent in the October-December period.
The Secretary added that the situation in the food and beverage services sector was the most severe, with the jobless rate being up to 13.8 per cent.
The unemployment rate in many other sectors also rose, Law said.
Looking ahead, Law predicted that the labour market will remain under notable pressure in the near term as the coronavirus pandemic will continue to weigh on local consumption sentiment and disrupt economic activities.
The Hong Kong government has rolled out targeted measures to provide further support to the hard-hit sectors, and will continue to monitor the situation closely, Law said.
Earlier this month, Hong Kong authorities launched an employment scheme to encourage local college graduates to pursue their careers in the mainland cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The scheme involves as many as 2,000 job opportunities with government granting enterprises for each graduate they employed a monthly allowance of HK$10,000 ($1,290) for up to 18 months.