Unionists have blamed the lack of effective action on unemployment for a dramatic rise in suicide among jobless people. The Federation of Trade Unions urged members of the government employment taskforce yesterday to give the problem priority. It cited the latest Judiciary report, which showed 444 unemployed people committed suicide last year, compared to 279 the year before, a 37 per cent increase. 'Until now, the Government has simply taken the view that unemployment is an adjustment phenomenon in Hong Kong's overall economic development, caused by an imbalance in the demand and supply of labour,' union social affairs spokesman Wong Kwok-hing said. The union called for the creation of an economic development steering committee with employment as its priority. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong and Kowloon Trades Union Council returned a copy of the Policy Address to the Chief Executive's representative to mark the union's refusal to accept its contents.