Hong Kong's latest unemployment rate announced in Jul 2009 was 5.4% (seasonally adjusted). Given the current global economic condition, this number is likely to go up further. We all recall that Hong Kong's unemployment rate was the worst during the SARS outbreak period in 2003. How high was it? What's the maximum number of people unemployed and when?
The answer: Unemployment rate max'ed 8.5% in Jun 2003. 308,000 people were unemployed in Aug 2003.
It seems 5.4% is still a way to go to reach 8.5%. However, given the global nature of current econmic situation, the unemployment rate (or the worst of it unfortunately) seems to be rather long terms. I was talking to couple of economists in major bank and regulator sector recently, both of them were not positive. We will see as time unfolds.
The following chart was plotted using data downloaded from the Census and Statistics Department of the Government of Hong Kong SAR. Feel free to use it for your reference.