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In long-overdue good news in what already feels like a very long year for many of us, Hong Kong recorded an 80% rise in job vacancies in September compared to the previous month.

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong explained that the encouraging jump in job vacancies was an indication that Hong Kong’s job market is stabilising as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to subside from its peak. He added that “many economic indicators were starting to bottom out”.

The city’s jobless rate from July to September period rose to 6.4% – a 16-year high.

“The number of vacancies received in September this year by the Labour Department from the private sector has increased substantially by about 80% to 78,578, from 43,725 in August,” Law wrote on his official blog on 1 November, adding that “of course, the jobless figures remain high”.

Law said the Labour Department would make every effort to assist workers find jobs through retraining and jobs fairs, such as the one held in Wan Chai on the 28-29 October (pictured above).

However Lee Shu-kam, associate head of Shue Yan University’s department of economics and finance, urged caution over the jump in job vacancies.

“When COVID-19 restrictions ease, retailers or restaurants would need to hire more people. While job offers are increasing, this would still not offset the rise in the number of jobless workers. And we should not be led to think that the jobless problem is not serious now,” Lee told the SCMP.

“Recently, we saw that the travel sector was hit hard, Cathay Pacific and travel agencies have been cutting jobs,” he added.

Also read: All you need to know about Cathay’s layoff announcement

In late October, experts at Baptist University’s centre for HR strategy and development cautioned that that Hong Kong’s jobless figure could hit a record high by the end of 2020 if the struggling economy did not pick up and the government’s Employment Scheme subsidy (ESS) was stopped.

Image: The Standard