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HK's jobless rate falls to 3.9 pct
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Hong Kong's jobless rate fell to 3.9 percent in August-October, down 0.2 percentage points over the figure in July-September, and the lowest level since March-May 1998, according to official figures released here Monday.

The Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong said that both the total labor force and total employment further contracted as summer workers returned to school.

As total employment showed a more moderate fall, the number of jobless people decreased significantly to below the 150,000-level in August-October resulting in the low jobless rate, said the department, but it noted that underemployment rose slightly from 2. 2 percent to 2.3 percent.

Falls in the jobless rate were mainly observed in the restaurants, manufacturing, amusement and recreational services, and real estate sectors. For underemployment, rises were mainly seen in the construction, sanitary services and communications sectors.

Supported by robust economic growth and sanguine consumer sentiment, particularly in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holidays, unemployment in the near term may be further improved, said the department.

Welcoming the drop, Matthew Cheung, secretary for Labor Welfare of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, said this reflects the robust state of the economy and the labor market's buoyancy.

He said the Government will enhance efforts to help jobseekers with lower skills, less education and difficulty in adjusting to an increasingly knowledge-based economy.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2007)

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