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Hong Kong Unemployment Hits Lowest Level Since Coronavirus Pandemic Began, With Economy Boosted By Multibillion-dollar E-voucher Scheme

Jobless rate drops to 4.7 per cent for three-month period ending in August, with some 10,700 fewer people out of work The rolling total is down 0.3 percentage points from the period spanning May to July

Hong Kong Unemployment Hits Lowest Level Since Coronavirus Pandemic Began, With Economy Boosted By Multibillion-dollar E-voucher Scheme

Hong Kong's unemployment rate has reached its lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began, with the local economy buoyed by the government's multibillion-dollar e-voucher scheme.

Figures from the Census and Statistics Department released on Thursday showed that the rate dropped to 4.7 per cent for the three-month period ending in August.

The rolling total was down 0.3 percentage points from the period spanning May to July, signalling a sustained economic recovery brought on by the easing of Covid-19 locally.

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The latest jobless rate is the lowest since early 2020, when it reached 4.2 per cent in the January to March period, before it dropped to 7.2 per cent for the three months ending in February - the worst showing since 2004.

About 187,700 people in Hong Kong remain out of work. Photo: Nora Tam

About 187,700 people in Hong Kong remain out of work. Photo: Nora Tam

According to the figures, about 187,700 people remained out of work, some 10,700 fewer than in the preceding quarter, while the number of underemployed fell by 6.6 per cent, to 86,200 residents.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the jobs market should see further improvement as the economy continued to recover.

"The government's disbursement of electronic consumption vouchers will continue to render support to consumption-related activities," he said, referring to the HK$36 billion (US$4.63 billion) scheme rolled out last month.

But Law warned that continued spread of the Delta variant meant the pandemic remained "a key source of uncertainty over the economic and labour market outlook".

E-voucher spending spree raises bar on hopes for Hong Kong growth: minister

To achieve a full economic recovery, Law said it was essential for the community to strive towards more widespread vaccination.

Last month, the government upgraded its forecast of Hong Kong's economic growth to between 5.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent this year, after the city's gross domestic product registered robust growth of 7.6 per cent year on year in the second quarter.

For the first half of 2021, real GDP grew 7.8 per cent from the same period last year.

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