HK unemployment rate records first drop amid global financial turmoil

08:04, October 20, 2009      

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Hong Kong's labor market has begun to improve as the latest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate recorded its first drop since the outbreak of the global financial turmoil last year, said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Monday.

Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.4percent in the June-August period to 5.3 percent in July-September. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.4percent, the Census and Statistics Department said on Monday.

Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung said as business conditions gradually improve and the labor market stabilizes, employers may adopt a more positive attitude towards recruitment.

"This is expected to ease the pressure on the unemployment rate in the near term," Cheung said.

Total employment in July-September was 3,495,500, about the same as June-August which stood at 3,495,300. The labor force fell7, 400 to 3,704, 700 in July-September.

The number of unemployed fell 7,700 to 209,100 in July- September while the number of underemployed rose 1,700 to 89,900.

Falls in the unemployment rate were mainly observed in the construction, information and communications, arts, entertainment and recreation sectors.

The unemployment rate of people aged 15 to 19 fell 2.7 percent to 25.7 percent, showing that the local government's efforts to boost youth employment have begun to take effect.

Cheung also noted that the recovery path may still be uneven as overseas markets have yet to show visible improvement.

He said the government will promote employment on all fronts through training, retraining and skills upgrading.

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