Job vacancies plunge in Hong Kong as economy forces layoffs

Business Materials 19 November 2008 05:24 (UTC +04:00)

The number of job vacancies in Hong Kong has plunged by 13 per cent in a month as the global economic crisis has forced mass layoffs, the government revealed Wednesday.

Government statistics show there were 9,000 fewer job openings in October compared to September, dpa reported.

The jobless rate has risen by 0.1 percentage points to 3.5 per cent, taking it to its highest level in almost a year.

The statistics were released amid growing gloom in Hong Kong following a number of big layoffs this month.

A government spokesman said that the retail, transport, import- export and hotel sectors recorded the most job losses.

The figure is expected to be even higher for November. Earlier this week, banking giant HSBC announced it would axe 450 jobs from its Hong Kong workforce of 20,000, blaming the deteriorating global economy and a pessimistic outlook for 2009.

Trading company Li & Fung, which derives about 60 per cent of its business from the United States, confirmed Tuesday that it would cut 150 jobs, while around 4,000 Hong Kong construction workers were sacked when building of the Sands resort development in neighbouring Macau came to a standstill.

Hong Kong has been hard hit by the recent global economic slump, with sharp declines in property prices and a 30-per-cent fall in the blue-chip Hang Seng Index since September.

Last week, the government released data that showed the territory had fallen into recession with a second consecutive quarter of economic contraction between July and September.