Hong Kong’s woes deepen as job cuts loom

With unemployment jumping to 3.2% by the end of November, and further job losses likely in the beleaguered airline industry, Hong Kong’s economic woes are starting to show up in official data as workers bear the brunt of the fallout from the city’s six-month-long protests.

Cathay Pacific, which employs 27,000, is putting on a brave face after announcing yesterday that passenger volumes were down nearly 50% in November. Several senior staff have just resigned, but no mass layoffs have yet been announced. Hong Kong Airlines, however, seems to be on life support, with planes impounded, and it seems highly unlikely the carrier will survive as passenger throughput in Hong Kong continues to nosedive.

Employment is falling fastest in the tourism and F&B industries, with the jobless rate up to 5.2% and 6.2%, respectively. The situation is only going to get worse, as tourists continue to stay away in droves.

Trade will likely be next to take a hit. This is, counter-intuitively, because of the US-China trade deal: as Bloomberg reports, part of the deal involves China re-routing US imports that had been going through Hong Kong’s port, in order to meet its new obligation of importing more US farm products directly.

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