Premier Wen Jiabao called at a State Council general meeting yesterday for greater efforts to create more jobs while trying to maintain reasonable economic growth and social stability during the recession. Migrant workers and college graduates were listed as the major groups for which governments at all levels should work diligently to create jobs, according to a report by China Central Television. 'Creating more jobs is very important to China's efforts in dealing with the global financial crisis, maintaining economic growth and securing social stability,' the council said in a statement after the meeting. The central government offered 42 billion yuan (HK$47.8 billion) in special subsidies for job creation this year, 66.7 per cent more than last year. The increased funding had created 3.65 million new urban jobs by the end of April, the council said. It did not give specific numbers on migrant workers and graduates, saying only that difficulties remained in creating enough jobs for them. Battered by the recession in western countries, at least 20 million migrant workers have lost their labour-intensive, export-oriented jobs this year. Authorities at all levels have been ordered to create new jobs for them, but no update is available to show how many have found work. Fudan University economics professor Zhou Dunren said the job situation for migrant workers could still be as harsh as it was a few months ago, as there were no signs that the economy had bottomed out. 'Only when China and rest of the world emerge from the current crisis can those who have lost labour-intensive jobs come back. But for now, I can see no apparent economic recovery,' he said. The mainland's first-quarter gross domestic product grew 6.1 per cent, compared with 6.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. Professor Zhou said GDP growth could be used to gauge the employment situation. 'Unless economic growth accelerates, the job market will be struggling for a while,' he said. To compound the problem, about 6 million college graduates will join the job market next month, adding to the million who graduated a year ago and are still jobless. Statistics from educational and human resources departments on the graduates' job searches do not bode well. For example, educational authorities in Wuhan, Hubei, said only 20 per cent of its 250,000 college graduates had landed jobs by the end of March, and Guangdong said only 7 per cent of undergraduates said they had secured jobs as of March 10. The State Council said the central government fully recognised the severity of the situation and rolled out five guidelines for local job-creation campaigns. It asked that all job subsidies reach the industries and areas where funding was much needed, and ordered more policy support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, which usually provided most of the new jobs. It also ordered colleges and industries to work more creatively to offer new jobs and step up professional training for those who lacked the necessary skills to fill vacancies. College graduates from the central and western regions, where economies were relatively behind those of their eastern counterparts, would receive subsidies for a longer period during their job hunting, the State Council said.