Hong Kong's Nov-Jan unemployment rate rises to 3.4%, highest in three years

A man walks past a closed shop following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 3.4% in the November to January period, the highest in more than three years, government figures showed on Tuesday, as worries grew over the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The labour market had slackened further as economic conditions remained weak, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-kwong, said in a statement.

"The labour market will be subject to even more pressure in the near term, as the threat of the novel coronavirus infection has already caused severe disruptions to a wide range of economic activities lately, particularly the consumption- and tourism-related sectors," Law added.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 3.3% in the previous three-month period, the data showed. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.2%.

The combined unemployment rate in the consumption and tourism sectors stayed at 5.2%, its highest in more than three years.

Hong Kong's economy contracted for the first time in a decade in 2019 as violent anti-government protests and the Sino-U.S. trade dispute took more steam out of the economy.


(Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Andrew Heavens)