HONG KONG, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's unemployment rate increased from 3.3 percent in August-October to 3.4 percent in September-November while the underemployment rate fell from 1.6 percent to 1.5 percent, the authority said on Monday.
According to the news released by the Census & Statistics Department, increases in the unemployment rate were mainly observed in the foundation and superstructure, and warehousing and support activities for transportation sectors.
As for underemployment, decreases were mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings as well as the food and beverage service activities sector.
Secretary for Labor & Welfare Matthew Cheung said the total employment rose by about 11,000 to reach a new record high of 3,651,100 in September-November, partly because of a seasonal rise in labor demand towards the year-end.
He said since the implementation of the statutory minimum wage, the number of private-sector vacancies recorded by the Labor Department has stayed at a high level of more than 3,000 per working day on average, and this level has been maintained in December so far.
In November, the number of private-sector vacancies recorded by the Labor Department increased 20.3 percent from 85,716 to an all-time high of 103,107, up 46.1 percent over the 70,576 recorded in the same period last year.
Referring to the short-term prospects, Cheung noted that the employers generally tend to stay cautious towards recruitment in face of a more uncertain external environment stemming from the evolving Euro Zone sovereign debt crisis and fragile fundamentals of the advanced economies.
"Nevertheless, the prevailing strength of domestic demand and inbound tourism should render some cushion to upward pressure on the overall unemployment rate in the near term, especially with the seasonal surge in consumption in the run-up to Christmas and New Year," he added.