Hong Kong jobless rate hits two-year low

Tuesday, 22 February 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

HONG KONG, (AFP) - Hong Kong’s unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent, its lowest in more than two years, as the city’s red-hot economy continues to power ahead, the government said Monday.

The unemployment rate for the November-January period was down from four percent in the October-December period, and marked Hong Kong’s lowest jobless rate since late 2008, the Census and Statistics Department said.

The figure also beat the average four percent unemployment rate expected by seven economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.

The Chinese territory’s total employment increased by about 18,400 to 3,582,100 people -- an all-time high for the city of seven million -- amid hiring in various sectors including construction and transportation.

“Total employment maintained its strong growth trend on entering 2011, thanks to the robust business activities and labour demand in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holidays” in February, said Matthew Cheung, Hong Kong’s labour secretary.

Cheung added that local employers were expected to continue hiring, but warned that a sluggish economic recovery in the West and the eurozone debt crisis “remain a cause for concern”.

Hong Kong unemployment peaked at 5.5 percent in mid-2009 as it was pounded by the global financial crisis, but the territory’s export-oriented economy has since posted a strong recovery.