The unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive month in November, dipping to 7.1 per cent, thanks to rising exports and tourism and a pick-up in construction work, the government said yesterday. Falling from a high of 7.8 per cent in July, the jobless rate reached 7.2 per cent in October. The government yesterday took some of the credit for the fall in the rate, which is a seasonally adjusted average for September to November. 'The unemployment situation has been improving for four months in a row. This reflects partly the results of the government's actions in improving the sectors in trade, logistics and tourism,' Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung said. While the growth in the number of workers remained fairly steady, the number of jobs created accelerated, according to a government statement. More than 12,000 jobs were created last month. The underemployment rate, which measures people who worked less than 35 hours a week, remained at 3 per cent. The number of those unemployed fell to 253,000 from 259,200. But the financial secretary warned that while the economy and the employment situation is likely to be 'stable to positive' in the short term, the longer-term outlook is less certain. 'In the medium term there are still uncertainties in the external markets: whether there will be a war in the Middle East, whether there will be further economic slowdown in our major export markets,' he said. Economists do not think the unemployment rate will continue falling because business and economic conditions are still poor. Henry Tsoi, senior economist at Hang Seng Bank, said: 'The unemployment rate is not going to improve very significantly from the present level. We figure the ability of the domestic sector to create jobs is very limited. We still expect the unemployment rate to stay at 7 per cent in the coming few months.' David Li Kwok-po, chairman of the Bank of East Asia, said the jobless rate would go down to about 6 per cent, with a strong growth in the tourism industry and new construction work from the Disney theme park.