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HK's jobless rate falls to nine-year low
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The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in Hong Kong fell to 3.6 percent in the September-November period from 3.9 percent in August-October, the lowest level for over nine and a half years, official figures released Tuesday indicated.

Falls in the jobless rate were observed in almost all major economic sectors, particularly wholesale trade, restaurants and construction, said the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.

During September-November period, the underemployment rate also fell to 2.2 percent from 2.3 percent, said the department, adding that the falls were mainly seen in the retail trade, welfare and community services, and restaurant sectors.

The labor market was buoyant in the September-November period, with total employment rising by 13,400 to an all-time high of 3.51 million. The labor force dipped by 2,500, to 3.64 million.

"These encouraging figures reflect our sustained economic growth and an upbeat labor market," said Matthew Cheung, Secretary for Labor and Welfare of the HKSAR government.

However, he said the Government will not be complacent and will continue efforts to help those having difficulty entering the labor market, particularly those from remote districts such as Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung.

Looking ahead, whether the jobless rate will drop further hinges on the pace of job creation relative to the growth in labor supply during the festive period around Christmas and the New Year, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2007)


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