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Hong Kong – Labour demand buoyant, but unemployment edges up

18 April 2013

Unemployment in Hong Kong rose to 3.5% in the three months to March, the local Census and Statistics Department said on Thursday. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.4% in the December to February period.

The underemployment rate was also up from 1.5% to 1.6%. Meanwhile, total employment increased by around 8,200 from 3,712, 000 in the previous period.

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, “labour demand held buoyant in the first quarter of 2013 and total employment rose further to a new record high of 3,720 200.”

On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said resilient domestic consumption and further growth of inbound tourism will continue to underpin labour demand. “The employment situation going forward will hinge crucially on the overall economic growth and the capacity of the corporate sector to create jobs.” But many companies continue to worry about economic uncertainty, especially in Europe, he said.

The statistics also show that in March, the number of private sector vacancies recorded by the Labour Department rose by an annual +9.9% to 108,743, up from 98,940 in the prior year. Unemployment in Hong Kong has been on a steady decline since its peak of 5.5% seen during the summer months in 2009. 

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