The unemployment rate of China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) fell 0.6 percentage points to 5.4 percent between November last year and January, touching the lowest mark since 1998.
The latest statistics from the Macao Statistics and Census Bureau suggested that Macao currently has 12,000 jobless residents. The rate fell 0.1 percentage points in the period between November and last month on the fourth quarter last year.
The officially measured unemployment rate peaked in the second quarter of 2000, when it reached 7.1 percent. In 1998, the rate amounted to 4.6 percent. It remained above or at 6 percent until late last year, when it dipped to 5.5 percent.
With a population of 446,000 residents, Macao has a workforce of some 222,000 at the end of last year including the 12,000 jobless. The Macao SAR government has launched a string of job-creation and vocational training courses to tackle the issue.
Observers expect that the opening of a number of new casinos, hotels and other tourism-related businesses, as well as the upcoming launch of a cross-border industrial park between Macao and Zhuhai City in south China's Guangdong Province, would create thousands of new jobs over the coming years.
The gradual decrease of the jobless rate has been attributed to Macao's robust growth, which sustained a double-digit growth rate last year.
(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2004)