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HK's Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.9%

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong fell to 6.9 percent (provisional) in April - June 2004 from 7.0 percent in March - May 2004, according to the latest labor force statistics released Tuesday by the Census and Statistics Department.


A government spokesman noted that both the number of unemployed persons and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to their lowest levels since early 2002, notwithstanding an increased entry of fresh graduates and school leavers into the labor market.


The underemployment rate held stable at 3.5 percent in both periods, said the Department.


It said that comparing April - June 2004 with March - May 2004,decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were observed mainly in the foundation and superstructure construction, retail trade, restaurants, transport and sanitary services sectors.


As to the underemployment rate, the decrease was concentrated in the sanitary services sector, while the increase was seen mainly in the amusement and recreational services sector.


Total employment went up by around 13,300, from 3,268,700 in March - May 2004 to 3,282,000 (provisional) in April - June 2004.


Total labor force increased to a smaller extent, by around 10,200 from 3,512,800 to 3,523,000 (provisional) between the two periods.


The government spokesman said that in the next several months, the new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers may continue to affect the labor force and unemployment figures. Yet these new comers can be expected to be gradually absorbed into the labor market in due course, as and when more jobs are created upon further economic growth.


(Xinhua News Agency July 21, 2004)

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