With COVID-19 not refusing to back down from its attempt to beat the global economy, not the latest but among the worst-hit regions happens to be Hong Kong. The nation had barely begun to get back on its feet given the aftermath of the 2019 protests.
With unemployment increasing constantly over the last seven months, the unemployment rate for Hong Kong stands at 5.2%, the highest in this decade. The unemployment number went up from 40,300 to 202,500 as on April 30th.
"The year-on-year declines in total employment and labor force widened further to 5.4% and 3% respectively, both the largest on record," said Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi Kwong. Mr. Law further added that the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors such as retail, accommodation and food services hit 9% - the highest in more than 15 years.
The impact on labor market conditions is similar across other sectors as well including education, information and communications, arts, entertainment and recreation, and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities).
Cautioning that the labor market will continue to face immense pressure in the near term, Mr. Law shared that the government "has rolled out relief measures of unprecedented scale" to help workers retain their jobs. Hong Kong has also extended the existing social distancing rules until June 4th. With not much of a bright recent past to return to, Hong Kong needs to adapt to a new normal to be able to sail through the rough tides.