Hong Kong sees lowest unemployment rate in over two years

09:19, March 18, 2011      

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Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in December-February quarter, the lowest level since July-September 2008, the official data released on Thursday showed.

The Census & Statistics Department said the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point over the November-January quarter, while the underemployment rate also dropped by 0.1 percentage point to 1.7 percent in December-February.

Total employment decreased from 3,582,100 to 3,575,500 while the labor force decreased from 3,712,300 to 3,698,700. As the reduction in total employment was smaller than that in the labor force, the number of unemployed fell further to 123,300, the lowest level since April-June 2008.

The number of underemployed people decreased by 5,400 to 61,600.

According to the figures released by the department, falls in the unemployment rate were mainly observed in the insurance, food and beverage service activities, and retail sectors. Decreases in the underemployment rate were mainly seen in the construction and education sectors.

Secretary for Labor & Welfare Matthew Cheung said the unemployment rate is expected to remain at a low level in the next few months because employers generally are still adopting a positive attitude toward staff hiring.

"Although the local economy has remained robust, we must remain vigilant and monitor developments closely given the uncertainties in the external environment, including the possible economic impact from the earthquake in Japan and the political unrest in the Middle East." Cheung commented.

Source: Xinhua
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