Red colour represents a shrinking job market while green colour represents a growing job market. The data reflects the change in job number in each district between September 2019 and September 2020.
District level job losses up to 13%
The impact of COVID on our economy is accelerating. While Government reported an overall unemployment rate of 6.6%, a study of district data by ‘Designing Hong Kong’ shows local impacts vary. Job losses in the Southern District is 13% for the year ending September 2020. Some industries at district level show job losses of over 50%.
Compared with the latest available data, we have lost more than 125 000 jobs compared with the data of the third quarter one year ago. This accounts for 4.4% of the job market. Import/export trade and wholesale, and accommodation and food services suffered the most. More than 10% of the jobs or nearly 100 000 jobs were lost in these industries in one year.
Traditional commercial centres such as the Central and Western District, Wan Chai District and Yau Tsim Mong District suffered greatly from the economic recession. In these districts, the import/export and wholesale; accommodation and food services; and retail suffered and lead to 10.5%, 8.6% and 6.9% loses in jobs in these districts respectively.
The economies of the Southern District and North District suffered most. Their job markets lost 13.2% and 12.1% of the jobs. This means that one out of every eight jobs were lost during the pandemic. This is worrisome as nearly half (Southern District: 48.3%; North District 53.8%) of the jobs in some districts are taken up by local residents.
Meanwhile, three districts recorded an increase in jobs. Wong Tai Sin and Tsuen Wan showed an 11.5% and 6.9% increase in jobs. It appears to be primarily industries which benefit from changes in consumer behaviour in times of Covid, including food and courier services representing online shopping and centralised food preparation.
Analyses of the performance of the different industries in each district give out hints of possible longer term shifts in the economy. In Kwun Tong, import/export and wholesale are the largest job sectors and these lost 8 555 jobs last year. On the other hand, administrative and supporting services industries have gained more than 7 000 jobs, further strengthening their position as the second largest industry in Kwun Tong. Similarly, in Yuen Long, real estate and education industries lost some 2 600 jobs. These were compensated by a rise in jobs in the accommodation and food services, and manufacturing industries.
To identify the challenges facing the Hong Kong economy in times of Covid we need to look at the performance of industries at district levels. It is not simply about the banking industry, or the Greater Bay Area. We need to uncover opportunities for Hong Kong at district level. We need to embrace this ‘re-set’ to discover new opportunities and restructure our economy. We need to develop a more resilient and more vibrant economy in every district.
Click here for detailed breakdown of the performance of the job market in each district this last year.
Learn more about District Economy:
Fixing the economy, one district at at time
Understanding the economies of Hong Kong’s districts
Census and Statistics Department (2020). Number of establishments and persons engaged (other than those in the Civil Service) analysed by industry section, District Council district and sex.
細看各個地區的職位變化亦可以找出部份地區未來的發展方向。以觀塘為例，進出口貿易及批發是該區的最大行業，但在過去一年卻失去了8 555個職位。但另一方面，行政及支援服務比去年提供多超過7 000個職位，進一步鞏固它們在觀塘第二大產業的地位。同樣地，元朗的地產及教育合共在去年失去了大約2 600個職位，但住宿及膳食服務及製造業的擴張卻彌補了這些損失。