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  HK job market remains stable

HONG Kong's employment remained stable for the quarter ending August with unemployment at 3.2 percent and underemployment at 1.9 percent, the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong said yesterday.

Total employment rose by 13,100 to 3,546,300 from June to August while the labor force grew by 17,600 to an all-time high of 3,675,400.

The number of jobless people rose by 4,500 to 129,100 while the number of underemployed fell by 900 to 69,000.

Unemployment fell in the decoration and maintenance, communications and manufacturing sectors, while there were more jobless people in sanitary services, education services and welfare and community services sectors.

Underemployment falls were mainly seen in foundation and superstructure construction and retail trade sectors, offsetting the rises in the decoration and maintenance, and miscellaneous personal services sectors.

Hong Kong Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung said the unemployment rate has remained unchanged notwithstanding the expansion in labor supply. Cheung warned that there was no ground for optimism in the face of global financial turbulence.

"With the further downside risks to the already challenging external environment, the uncertainties clouding over the near term outlook for the local economy have increased," he said.

He added that the government will closely monitor the impact on job creation and employment while continuing to enhance training, retraining and employment services.

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