Hong Kong's economy continues to show signs of improvement, with the Social Welfare Department recording the smallest increase in the number of jobless people receiving social security payments in two years. The number of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) cases rose 0.6 per cent on a year-on-year basis to 287,446 last month, representing a decrease of 0.1 per cent over July. This compares with a 1.1 per cent rise to 283,823 cases in June. The number of unemployed CSSA recipients rose 0.5 per cent, an increase of 260 cases over July to 51,352 cases. The number of CSSA cases is broadly seen as an indicator of the state of the economy and the job market. Director of Social Welfare Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday the latest increase in the number of jobless social security recipients was the lowest since 2001. 'This phenomenon reflects that the economy on the whole is gradually improving. It may also be because some of the unemployed people are more optimistic about the future. That's why they won't fall into the social security net so soon.' But she warned against any complacency, saying the record high number of CSSA cases still posed significant pressure on the government's social security expenditure. Unionist legislator Leung Yiu-chung warned that Hong Kong still had a serious unemployment problem, as reflected by the continued increase in the number of jobless people. The unemployment rate stands at a record 8.7 per cent.