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Macao faces manpower meagerness
2006-01-10 03:41:18 Xinhua English
MACAO, Jan. 10(Xinhuanet£ûby Zhang Ning)-- Warning siren is whistled for Macao's manpower market, as many business sectors grumble about the unsatiable appetite of the booming casino industry for the meager enough local human resources.

The latest statistics issued by the government-run Statistics and Census Service(SCS) displayed that the special administrative region has seen a 4.1-percent unemployment rate between September and November, a record low since the city returned to the motherland in 1999.

The SCS figures showed that in Macao, a city with a population of 480,000, the number of the labor forces currently stands at 254,000, among which some 10,000 are jobless.

Meanwhile, two casino-featured hotels which are expected to open in January and March, have been on the hunting mission in thelocal manpower market with at least 7,000 job vacancies, 70 percent of the jobless population.

While meeting with He Xiaowei, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Macao, some 60 influential local entrepreneurs here on Monday complained that the blossoming gaming business comes in too aggressive in the human resource market.

He, in charge of the economic affairs of the liaison office, pledged that the mainland is willing to open its manpower market to Macao and the access remains shut solely to the gaming industry.

The gross receipts of Macao's gaming and betting sector reached a record 46 billion patacas(575 million U.S. dollars) in 2005, a year-on-year rise of nine percent.

Direct tax paid by the previous 17 casinos(a new one was opened over the past week) dons over 70 percent of the government's yearly revenue.

Macao, with a 150-year history of gaming industry, is edging towards the title of the world No. 1 gaming city with Las Vegas inches ahead.

Other business sectors in the region feel desperate when competing with the gaming industry in the labor market, as the latter flusters banknotes for the salary offers.

Embracing a stronger flow of overseas manpower might be one way out.

The government of the Macao Special Administrative Region has long been imposing a harsh restriction on the employment of overseas labor forces(including those from the mainland and Hong Kong).

However, facing the labor force shortage, calls have been making for the lifting of the curb.

Shuen Ka Hung, director of the Labor Affairs Bureau, spares no effort to lobby the Legislative Assembly for a more flexible employment policy.

His argument is that the inflow of overseas labor forces will not harm the benefits of the local laborers.

Official statistics showed that the number of overseas employees stood at 34,600 at the end of September 2005, a year-on-year hike of 30.5 percent.

Meanwhile in the month, the jobless rate edged down by 0.6 percent year-on-year, and the average monthly income of local employees rocketed by 10.3 percent year-on-year.

Shuen supported his argument with the above figures that overseas employees will not exploitate the local labor market and will instead prove to be a healthy supplement.

The government and the legislative arm are working hard on a package of regulations on the employment of overseas labor forces.

Everyone agrees that the region's fast-growing economy needs a strong labor force to refuel. Enditem

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