The jobless rate is expected to break through the five per cent mark for the first time in three years when the latest official figures are released today. The rise is certain to put further pressure on the Government to honour a promise made by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa in his Policy Address last Wednesday to create 30,000 jobs in the next 12 months. The chief executive of the Confederation of Trade Unions, Elizabeth Tang Yin-ngor, said yesterday she expected the jobless rate for the three months ending September to go up 0.1 or even 0.2 percentage points from its present 4.9 per cent. 'The bulk of the rise is likely to come from the construction, renovation and catering industries,' she said. 'Every day, we have come across firms from those sectors which have been forced to shut down.' Ms Tang, who is also a member of the government taskforce on employment, said the service industry would follow suit, with workers in the hairdressing and cosmetic sectors likely to join the jobless army. She said the new jobs would be of little help in curbing rising unemployment, which is expected to worsen following the US terror attacks. City University social studies lecturer Dr Wong Hung said: 'I am certain it will reach five per cent tomorrow, with a fair chance of touching 5.1 per cent. If it goes beyond that, we can describe the situation as catastrophic.' Dr Wong said the rise would mainly be caused by lay-offs in tourism-related industries, badly hit by the terrorist attacks. 'To be honest, we are only witnessing the immediate impact,' he said. 'The impact on trading and manufacturing jobs has yet to be reflected and we expect these to show up in the next one to two months.' Chief economist at the Bank of East Asia Paul Tang Sai-on said the rate could reach 5.2 per cent because both trading and domestic consumption had deteriorated in recent months. 'The reality is that even after three years of deflation and a 60 per cent drop in property prices, Hong Kong is still one of the most expensive cities in the world,' he said. Companies that had avoided or delayed reducing staff had now been forced to act, Mr Tang said. The jobless rate hit 5.2 per cent three years ago, reaching a peak of 6.4 per cent before starting to fall at the end of 1999.