Hong Kong’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.3 percent, officials announced Tuesday, defying expectations that it would rise more steeply. The jobless rate for the period from February to April rose just 0.1 percent from the January to March period, according to government statistics.
Analysts had predicted that Hong Kong’s unemployment rate would hit 7 or 8 percent over the summer, although the rate of increase will rise in June when school- and college-leavers join the job market.
A government spokesman said, “There are signs that the rise in the unemployment rate is tapering but labour market conditions remain slack.”
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung said he expected the unemployment rate to remain high in the short term because of the global recession and other factors such as the swine-flu outbreak.
Hong Kong’s jobless rate hit a high of 8.5 percent in the aftermath of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS but fell back to 3.2 percent in mid-2008.
Category: Hong Kong