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SLW on latest unemployment statistics

     Following is the transcript of remarks (English portion) by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, on the latest unemployment statistics at a media session today (November 17):

     On the short-term outlook on employment, the Hong Kong economy will continue to be affected by worsening external conditions in the face of the deepening Eurozone debt crisis and the subdued economic growth in the United States.  As such, employers generally are expected to remain cautious in hiring.  We will continue to be vigilant and closely monitor developments.  With the economic slowdown and given the increasingly austere global economic environment, the pace of local job creation is likely to decelerate, thus posing pressure on the unemployment rate in the period ahead.

     Having said this, however, business activity is expected to increase during the festive period around Christmas and the New Year.  Coupled with the continued strong domestic demand and inbound tourism as well as the hectic pace of infrastructure investment, this should help ease the pressure on unemployment.

     In fact, because of strong local consumption, the unemployment rate of the retail sector fell by 0.7 percentage point to 4 per cent, the lowest in three and a half years (since February - April 2008).

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, November 17, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:50


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