China's new leaders must push for urbanisation as they deal with rising unemployment, a Central Party School professor has said. 'At present, only 37 per cent of the country's 1.2 billion population live in cities,' Zhou Tianyong said. 'The urban population must be increased by one per cent each year in the coming 15 years.' Professor Zhou said urbanisation would help to create more jobs to absorb the huge army of unemployed. About four million young urban dwellers join the job market each year. State-owned enterprises are expected to continue to lay off about five million workers a year, at the same time as three million soldiers and university graduates are also looking for work, mostly in cities. On top of these 12 million job-seekers, Professor Zhou estimates that each year, nine million rural residents give up farming to look for work in townships and cities. He said this meant the government would need to provide work for about 22 million people a year. The government has hammered out a long-term strategy to increase the urban population from 37 per cent to 52 per cent over the next five 15 years, the professor said. The increase would partly be achieved through the development of more than 250,000 satellite towns. The professor said pilot schemes, achieved by merging small towns and villages, had been launched in Zhejiang and Shandong provinces.