HK's jobless rate falls to 4.6%

19:52, March 18, 2010      

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Hong Kong's unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in the December to February period, from 4.9 percent in the November-January quarter, the Census and Statistics Department said on Thursday.

According to the department, the 4.6 percent figure was the lowest since November 2008 to January 2009. The latest statistics also recorded a drop of underemployment rate from 2.2 percent to 2.1 percent.

In particular, the jobless rate of the 15 to 24 age group improved significantly, falling 1.2 percentage points to 9.9 percent. This was mainly due to the drop in the number of unemployed school leavers and people with post-secondary degrees.

The unemployment rate of the construction sector dropped to 7.3 percent, showing its job situation is steadily improving.

Hong Kong's Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung said the notable drop in the jobless rate was mainly due to a significant job gain of 7,900 led by the pick-up in overall economic activities.

Noting total employment recorded a solid increase of 8,600 in the November-January quarter, Cheung said this shows the labor market is continuing to revive and many employers are in a stronger recruiting mood.

"Given the positive business sentiment and market feedback on vacancies, unemployment is likely to ease further in the next couple of months.

"Beyond that, the outlook will hinge on the external environment and the pace of economic growth, in particular, the number of jobs created for absorbing the new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers entering the labor market this summer," Cheung said.

Source: Xinhua
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