Mainland job market stable, says official
BEIJING: China’s job market remained “generally stable” in the first half of the year despite the economic downturn, latest data showed.
China added 7.25 million jobs in the first half, an increase of 310,000 from the number seen during the same period last year, said Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security.
The registered urban unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 4.1 per cent, he said.
Yin noted that the current slowdown is still within a “predictable range”, but stressed that grim challenges lie ahead in creating enough jobs amid uncertainties both at home and abroad.
“Maintaining a steady job market will be a long-term and arduous task,” he said, adding that labour supplies between the ages of 20 and 59 will peak around 2020.
China saw a record high of 6.99 million students leaving universities in 2013, a 2.8 per cent increase year on year, while a sizeable surplus of workers in rural areas is seeking jobs in cities.
The job data followed the release on July 15 of a string of economic indicators that showed China’s economic growth slid to 7.6 per cent during the January-June period, the weakest first-half performance in three years.
The news put pressure on policymakers to stabilise short-term growth and employment while driving through reforms for long-term good.
Last week, Premier Li Keqiang told provincial governors that the policies need to keep growth and employment above a “floor” and inflation below a “ceiling”.
At a meeting on July 16, Yin stressed the role of the service sector in absorbing new workers, as every one percentage point of growth in that industry would bring roughly 700,000 jobs. The service sector accounted for roughly 44.6 per cent of China’s GDP in 2012, and policymakers aim to bring the proportion to 47 per cent by 2015 and make it a strategic focus for the country’s industrial restructuring and upgrading to ease reliance on traditional manufacturing.
China will work to increase jobs in the tertiary industry while stabilising employment in the manufacturing sector, Yin said, adding that more efforts will be made to create more jobs in emerging businesses and the private sector. China is aiming to keep the jobless rate below or at 4.6 per cent this year.