Hong Kong unemployment rate below 3 pct for first time in nearly 20 years

Updated 2018-01-19 09:22:03 Xinhua

Hong Kong's unemployment rate in the fourth season of 2017 decreased to below 3 percent for the first time in nearly 20 years, statistics released Thursday by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government showed.

According to the latest labor force statistics released by the HKSAR government's Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3 percent in the third season of 2017 to 2.9 percent in the fourth season, while the underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.1 percent in the two periods.

Compared with the previous season, in the fourth season the total employment increased by around 10,300 to 3,850,600, the labor force increased by around 2,400 to 3,960,400, while the number of unemployed persons decreased by around 8,000 to 109,800.

"The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down... (to) below 3 percent for the first time in nearly 20 years. Meanwhile, the underemployment rate remained at a low level of 1.1 percent for the sixth consecutive period. Total employment and labor force continued to grow appreciably year-on-year in the latest period," the HKSAR government's Secretary for Labor and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said when commenting on the latest unemployment figures.

The official attributed the decreased unemployment rate to "key contributing factors" including "the continuous growth of Hong Kong economy, and the external demand staying vibrant with the support of the broadly benign global economic conditions, while at the same time the domestic demand attained solid growth."

According to him, most major economic sectors recorded declines in their respective unemployment rates, with more notable decreases seen in the real estate and foundation and superstructure sectors.

On a year-on-year comparison to net out seasonal fluctuations, the improvement in unemployment situation was particularly visible in the retail, financing, and professional and business services sectors thanks to the revival in related business activities over the past year.

Looking ahead, Law said: "the overall benign economic conditions are expected to keep the labor market tight in the near term. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor closely the various external uncertainties and developments in the local labor market."

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