Public concern over the economy has reached its highest level since January 1983, with housing becoming less of a worry, the Home Affairs Bureau survey found. The survey showed 66 per cent of respondents considered the economic turmoil the source of their biggest worries. This is significantly higher than the 48 per cent recorded in May. Only 12 per cent cited economy-related problems as their concern in September. Of the specific problems they perceived, 47 per cent pointed to economic depression/weak economy. A bureau spokesman attributed the 'unprecedented negative perception of the economy' to a combination of unusual circumstances. 'Even while we are still struggling with the regional economic downturn precipitated by the Asian financial and currency turmoil, our problems were compounded by the predicted huge economic losses ensuing from the chaos following the opening of the Chek Lap Kok airport.' Eleven per cent of respondents were worried about the impact of the airport chaos on external trade, and a further 15 per cent found poor planning and management of the airport and general disorder at Chek Lap Kok a cause for concern. Those who said labour-related problems were their main worry remained at a high level - 48 per cent - although it has dropped from 54 per cent in May. Of the 48 per cent, 95 per cent indicated difficulty in finding jobs and unemployment as their chief concern. Only 20 per cent found housing-related problems a worry, down from 63 per cent in September. Of these, 30 per cent said the price of private housing was too high, compared with 51 per cent in January.