HONG KONG, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 5.2 percent in the period between February and April from 4.2 percent in the period between January and March, according to the latest statistics released Tuesday by China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.
The underemployment rate also increased to 3.1 percent in the period between February and April from 2.1 percent in the period between January and March, the latest labor force figure released by the HKSAR government's Census & Statistics Department showed.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the HKSAR government's Secretary for Labor & Welfare Law Chi-kwong said the labor market showed further sharp deterioration as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on a wide range of economic activities.
The unemployment rate soared by one percentage point to 5.2 percent in the period between February and April, the highest in over a decade, while the underemployment rate also surged by one percentage point to 3.1 percent, the highest in over 15 years, Law said.
Total employment decreased by around 62,600 from 3,720,000 in January to March to 3,657,400 in February to April. Over the same period, the labor force also decreased by around 22,400 from 3,882,200 to 3,859,800.
There were 202,500 unemployed people in the period, an increase of 40,300 from the period between January and March, while the number of underemployed people rose by 35,800 to 118,600.
"The year-on-year declines in total employment and labor force widened further to 5.4 percent and 3 percent respectively, both the largest on record," Law said, adding that the labor market will continue to face immense pressure in the near term.
"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. These measures should help keep workers in employment," he said.