Unemployment in Hong Kong remained unchanged in June as the labor market remained tight and in a state of full employment amid increasing uncertainties in the global economy, data from the latest labor force survey showed.
However, the government remains doubtful if the pace of job creation will sustain to absorb the new graduates and school leavers as labor demand in the coming months could be dampened by weakness in the European as well as other major economies.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in the three months ended June, unchanged from the March to May period, the Census and Statistics Office said Thursday. Economists had expected the rate to climb to 3.3 percent.
Construction and factory sectors witnessed declining jobless rates, while it increased in the food and beverage service activities, and professional and business services sectors. On an unadjusted basis, the number of unemployed increased by around 2,100 to 125,500 in April-June.
The number of persons in employment increased by around 8,800 to a record high 3.67 million during the period. The labor force grew by nearly 11,000 to 3.79 million.
"Labor demand in the corporate sector stays buoyant as reflected by the favorable job vacancy trend, Secretary for Labor & Welfare Matthew Cheung said.
"However, the potential impact on business condition and hiring sentiment by the evolving Eurozone debt crisis and lackluster performance of major economies remain a major cause of concern."
Hong Kong has experienced a steady fall in unemployment since 2009 global financial crisis when the jobless rate peaked at 5.5 percent.
"As the new batch of fresh graduates and school leavers would continue to boost labour supply in the next few months, the employment situation will depend on whether the momentum of job generation can sustain and absorb these newcomers," Kin-Chung added.
The economy expanded at a markedly slower rate in the first quarter, hurt by a slump in exports amid a difficult external environment. Gross domestic product increased 0.4 percent year-on-year, notably slower than the 3 percent growth seen in the fourth quarter.
by RTT Staff Writer
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