Nearly half of the people who took part in a survey said they were worried about layoffs next year. A telephone poll conducted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong found 48.3 per cent of 715 respondents were anxious that they or their family members might lose their jobs next year. About 34 per cent said they were not concerned about layoffs. The survey, carried out in the middle of this month, asked respondents for their predictions for next year. Given the financial turmoil, 67.3 per cent of respondents said they would cut spending while 51.7 per cent would reduce investments. More than half of the respondents were pessimistic about the economy, with 55.9 per cent expecting economic conditions in Hong Kong to worsen. Regarding the government's ability to lead Hong Kong through the economic crisis, 31.6 per cent said they were 'not so confident', against 30.1 per cent who said they were either 'quite confident' or 'very confident'. 'The situation is quite serious. We can see that people lack confidence,' said legislator Chan Kam-lam. The poll was a sharp contrast to a survey conducted by the DAB in November and December last year, in which a tenth of respondents said they would like to quit or had quit their jobs to devote their time to stock market investments. The government should spend HK$600 million to encourage recruitment, the DAB suggested. To create 10,000 new jobs, the administration could offer a subsidy of up to HK$5,000 for each new post created by firms that did not lay off any staff in the past half year, the party said. Following the success of the Sham Shui Po computer festival this month, the party suggested that similar events be held in other districts to stimulate consumption. Meanwhile, a survey of 328 workers by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions found only 39 per cent enjoyed a pay increase this year. Of those who had a pay rise, about 70 per cent said it was less than the inflation rate of 5.5 per cent. 'Many companies still make profits. They just take advantage of their employees amid the financial crisis,' said Lee Cheuk-yan, the union's general secretary.