The Policy Address 2000

More Job Opportunities

89. As our economic recovery continues, the number of new jobs is rising and the unemployment rate has gradually come down. However, the significant mismatch between job seekers and vacancies has delayed improvement in the overall employment situation. The Labour Department will work with the Social Welfare Department and various training providers to help the jobless and low-income earners to find suitable work. We are particularly concerned about the plight of the older, low-skilled long-term unemployed who find it difficult to find work. In the coming year, the Labour Department will launch, on a trial basis, a one-stop service covering employment counselling, job matching and induction training for these displaced workers. We will provide training subsidies to employers who are willing to engage these workers. We have set aside $10 million to help about 2 000 long-term unemployed workers aged above 40 by, for example, outreaching staff making home visits to provide relevant information on employment and training courses.

90. The Task Force on Employment chaired by the Financial Secretary has introduced over 40 measures to revive the economy and to relieve the difficulties faced by the community. These measures include the granting of tax concessions and the freezing of government fees and charges. The task force has also recommended speeding up the start of government construction projects and strengthening employment placement and counselling services. Over the past two years or so, the implementation of government policy measures and infrastructural projects has opened up many long-term and short-term job opportunities.

91. The Government will, without compromising the principle of a market economy, create new job opportunities in areas where more social investment is required. Some of the areas include:

  • Additional staff for up to two years for the anti-smoking campaign and the promotion of healthy living, which will add $30 million to our annual expenditure;

  • Recruiting extra workers to step up our efforts in urban cleansing and greening as well as refuse collection along the coast for a period of two years. This will improve environmental hygiene and help beautify our city. It will increase our annual expenditure by $94 million;

  • Additional staff for two years for environmental improvement and community building in the 18 districts. This will cost $50 million each year;

  • Increase the number of supporting staff in personal care, outreaching services and ward services to offer better services to patients. This will increase expenditure by $243 million per year in the first two years; and

  • Enhance services for women, new arrivals, single-parent families, the elderly and the disabled. This will increase our annual expenditure by $228 million in the coming two years.

92. It is estimated that about 7 000 new jobs will be created by these measures. A further 8 000 jobs are expected to be available next year in other expanded service areas. Subject to the Legislative Council's funding approval, the total number of job opportunities provided by the Government next year will be around 15 000. This does not include the tens of thousands of jobs to be created by various Government infrastructure projects which will also help many jobless to find work and earn a living.

[more ...]

Government Information Centre