Protesters walk down the road with traffic cones to build a barricade in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Image Credit: Reuters

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s unemployment rate rose to the highest level since 2017 in November, as months of protests continued to damage the Asian financial hub’s economy.

The overall unemployment rate rose to 3.2 per cent as of the end of November, the Hong Kong government said in a release on Tuesday. That’s in line with estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The jobless rate in the consumption and tourism-related sector, which includes retail, accommodations and food services, rose to a three-year high of 5.2 per cent in the September-to-November period.

The food and beverage sector, meanwhile, saw joblessness rise to 6.2 per cent, the highest in more than eight years.

Hong Kong’s typically resilient labour market has shown growing signs of strain as the city’s shopping malls, hotels and restaurants have been hit by a sharp slowdown in tourism and reduced spending. Retail sales by value contracted by a record amount in October.

The intensity of the unrest appeared to ebb in November after pro-democratic candidates swept local elections.