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Jobs

China puts job creation on the front burner in quest for stable growth

More than 8 million university graduates are expected to join the labour force, with millions more people already unemployed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 February, 2018, 4:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 February, 2018, 4:13pm

China will boost its job creation effort and promote entrepreneurship this year, a spokeswoman for the top state planner said on Sunday, under pressure to find work for millions of unemployed people and new college graduates.

Meng Wei, from the National and Development Reform Commission, said China needed to create jobs for 9.7 million people registered as unemployed and 8.2 million new college graduates, as well as workers affected by industrial capacity cuts.

China’s urban-registered unemployment rate fell to 3.9 per cent last year and has remained generally stable despite slowing economic growth and the government forging ahead with plans to cut industrial capacity.

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But many analysts say the official data is an unreliable indicator of employment conditions because it only measures employment in urban areas and does not take into account the millions of migrant workers who form the bedrock of China’s labour force.

“We will implement an employment-first strategy and more proactive employment policies ... and vigorously promote employment and entrepreneurship,” Meng said, adding that protecting jobs was fundamental to China’s stable growth policy.

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Authorities are counting on “new growth engines” such as technology and services to support job creation.

Meng said China would create a policy environment that supported the digital economy and would promote the big data, artificial intelligence and industrial internet sectors.

The commission would also improve policies to support the growth of private firms, building on examples of successful policies from around the country, she noted.