April 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong unemployment data:
* HK jobless rate up to 3.5 pct for January-March
* January-March underemployment at 1.6 percent vs 1.5 percent in December-February
UNEMPLOYMENT (PCT) UNDEREMPLOYMENT (PCT)
Jan-Mar 3.5* 1.6*
Dec-Feb 3.4 1.5
Nov-Jan 3.4 1.6
Oct-Dec 3.3 1.5
Sep-Nov 3.4 1.4
Aug-Oct 3.4 1.5
Jul-Sep 3.3 1.6
Jun-Aug 3.2 1.7
May-Jul 3.2 1.5
Apr-Jun 3.2 1.4
Mar-May 3.2 1.4
Feb-Apr 3.3 1.5
* = provisional
** The government has forecast 2013 GDP to rise 1.5-3.5 percent.
The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, 'Labour demand held buoyant in the first quarter of 2013 and total employment rose further to a new record high of 3,720,200. Nevertheless, as the labour force likewise expanded by a larger extent, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point to 3.5 percent.'
'On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, 'While the resilient domestic consumption and further growth of inbound tourism will continue to underpin labour demand, the employment situation going forward will hinge crucially on the overall economic growth and the capacity of the corporate sector to create jobs.'
'Uncertainties in the external environment, including those stemming from the fluid European sovereign debt situation and the escalating geopolitical tensions, remain a cause of concern.'
'We will stay vigilant and monitor development in the local labour market closely. The Labour Department will keep up its efforts in providing comprehensive employment service to job-seekers and enhance its employment service in relatively remote districts.'
To view the full details of the unemployment data, see the Hong Kong government website: (http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201304/18/P201304180398.htm)
To read more on the Hong Kong economy, doubleclick on .
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(Reporting by Raymond Leung in HONG KONG; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani) Keywords: HONGKONG ECONOMY/UNEMPLOYMENT
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