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October 20, 2009

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HK jobless rate drops

HONG Kong's labor market has begun to improve as the latest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate recorded its first drop since the outbreak of the global financial turmoil last year, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said yesterday.

Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.4 percent in the June-August period to 5.3 percent in July-September. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.4 percent, the Census and Statistics Department said.

Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung said as business conditions improve and the labor market stabilizes, employers may start hiring again.

"This is expected to ease the pressure on the unemployment rate in the near term," Cheung said.

Total employment in July-September was 3,495,500, about the same as June-August which stood at 3,495,300. The labor force fell 7,400 to 3,704,700 in July-September.

The number of unemployed fell 7,700 to 209,100 in July-September while the number of underemployed rose 1,700 to 89,900.

Falls in the unemployment rate were mainly observed in the construction, information and communications, arts and entertainment sectors.


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