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Hong Kong Jobless Rate Rises In December

Hong Kong's jobless rate rose marginally during the October to December period, data from the Census and Statistics Department showed on Monday.

The jobless rate rose to 3.3 percent during the October to December period from 3.2 percent during the September to November period. This was in line with economists' expectation.

However, the number of unemployed persons decreased to 124,000 during the three months ended in December from 125,400 in the previous three months.

The number of employed persons declined by around 12,800 persons to 3.817 billion during the October to December period.

"The labor market slackened further as economic conditions stayed weak," the Secretary for Labor and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said.

"The labor market will be subject to even more pressure in the near term if the overall economy stays weak," the official said.

Among the different sectors, business of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors that includes retail, accommodation and food services, remained in the doldrums. The unemployment rate of these sectors combined stayed at a three-year high of 5.2 percent, Law said.

The underemployment rate rose visibly when compared to the preceding period, particularly for those working in food and beverage service activities, the official said.

Employment in these sectors continued fall sharply on a year-on-year basis.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate of the construction sector, particularly of those involved in decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings, fell steeply when compared to the preceding period.

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