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Unemployment rate rise slightly for Jan-March
17
Apr '08
According to the latest labour force statistics released April 17 by the Census and Statistics Department, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 3.3% in December 2007 - February 2008 to 3.4% (provisional figure) in January - March 2008. The underemployment rate held stable at 1.9% in both periods (provisional figure for January - March 2008).

Comparing January - March 2008 with December 2007 - February 2008, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the decoration and maintenance, communications and restaurants sectors. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the wholesale and retail trades, offsetting the increases in the construction and communications sectors.

Total employment decreased by around 6 400, from 3 540 400 in December 2007 - February 2008 to 3 534 000 (provisional figure) in January - March 2008. Over the same period, the labour force increased by around 600, from 3 652 400 to 3 653 000 (provisional figure).

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 6 900, from 112 000 in December 2007 - February 2008 to 118 900 (provisional figure) in January - March 2008. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 1 600, from 68 800 to 70 400 (provisional figure).

Commentary:
Total employment decreased by around 6 000 in January - March 2008, possibly owing to slackened business activity after the Lunar New Year holidays. Coupled with the slight expansion in labour force, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) rose by almost 7 000, after falling for six consecutive periods. Meanwhile, the seasonally adjustment unemployment rate edged up to 3.4% in January - March 2008.

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