RTTNews - Tuesday, Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department said the seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 5.3% during February to April from 5.2% recorded in January to March. It was a touch lower than the expected rate of 5.4%. After discounting the seasonal factor, the unemployment rate increased to 5.3% from 5.2%.

The Secretary for Labor and Welfare, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said that the unemployment rate was expected to remain high in the short term as the labor market demand remained weak under the deepening impact of the economic recession. The human swine influenza has also emerged as a new source of uncertainty and pressure on the labor market, he added.

The not seasonally adjusted number of unemployed persons increased by around 9,700 to 196,900 in February to April from 187, 200 in January to March.

Total employment decreased by around 5,500, from 3,507,600 in January to March to 3,502,100 in February to April 2009. Over the same period, the labor force increased by around 4,100 to an all-time high of 3,699,000.

Cheung noted that as pledged by the Chief Executive Donald Tsang, further round of relief measures will be announced by the Government within a month. This should ease the pressure on employment, Cheung stressed.

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