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Sluggish retail puts pressure on jobs data

More Hong Kong citizens are working, but a sluggish retail sector is concerning government officials.
Jobs data out this week shows an unemployment rate of 3.2 per cent from March to May this year, a figure identical to that for the February to April period. That’s despite the loss of around 12,100 jobs in the last period.
A share of those jobs were from the struggling retail sector, others from the tourism sector as fewer mainland Chinese travelled into Hong Kong. But the majority came from the wholesale sector, with the construction hiring more people.
The secretary for labour and welfare, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said the labour market held broadly stable in March – May 2015, and both total employment and labour force grew moderately over a year earlier.
“Although the labour market stayed resilient recently, the near-term employment outlook remains clouded by the highly uncertain external environment as well as the sluggish performance of the retail and other tourism-related sectors. We will continue to stay vigilant and closely monitor development, in particular the employment situation of those at the grassroots level.”
To promote youth employment, the Labour Department has launched a “Career Let’s go” special program from May to September this year to cater for the pre-employment training and employment needs of secondary school graduates. Some 40 000 youths are expected to benefit from the programme.
The department will also continue to hold large-scale job fairs to facilitate easy access to employment information. From July 21 to 23, it will hold the Tuen Mun Job Fair at the Tuen Mun Town Hall, with around 60 employers participating.

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