Prof. Davis Ka Chio FONG, Director of Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming, was recently interviewed by the Macao Daily News. During the interview, he mentioned that the recovery of the integrated tourism industry is happening at an accelerated pace. He also stated that the deepening of non-gaming elements and investment in projects will continue to drive the recovery of different industries. According to the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC), the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first three quarters of this year has already recovered to around 77% of the total GDP in 2019. In addition to the notable increase in exports of tourism services, fixed capital formation and private consumption expenditure have grown significantly, driven by the former. The overall employment situation has improved as a result of increased hiring across all sectors in response to the notable boost in economic conditions and business confidence.

The overall unemployment rate and local unemployment rate fell from their peaks of 4.3% and 5.5% in June-August 2002 to 2.3% and 2.9% in September-November 2003, respectively. According to Prof. Davis, it is worth noting that Macao’s total labor force (i.e. including the labor force residing in Macau, as well as Macao residents and foreign employees working in Macao and living outside the territory) has increased from a low of 45.68 million at the beginning of this year (December 2002 to February 2023) to a recent high of 470.91 million (September to November 2003), while the number of unemployed people has dropped from 1.22 million at the beginning of this year to around 8,600. From the beginning of this year to the end of November, it can be projected that a total of 2.6 million more people were employed in various sectors in Macao. The median income of local residents has also risen from a low of $17,000 in the third quarter of last year to the present level of $20,000, that is, the level at the end of 1999, which is encouraging.

Prof. Davis Ka Chio FONG pointed out that although uncertainties still prevail in the global economic environment, it is believed that Macao’s economic recovery will continue into next year under the impetus of the competitive edge of integrated tourism, coupled with the “Development Plan for Appropriate Economic Diversification of the Macao Special Administrative Region (2024-2028)” announced by the SAR Government and to be implemented early next year, as well as the “Overall Development Plan for the Guangdong-Macao In-depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin” just announced by the National Development and Reform Commission, will inject new growth momentum into the economy. Therefore, it is believed that next year, the Macao economy will be able to build on this year’s strong recovery, and the employment environment and median income are expected to rise.