China Focus: China’s job market remains stable

April 25, 201611:59 am320 views

China’s registered unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 4.04 percent at the end of March, down from 4.05 percent at the end of 2015, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Friday.

An additional 3.18 million urban jobs were created in the first three months of 2016, said ministry spokesperson Li Zhong at a press conference.

“The data indicate that China’s job market remains stable,” Li said, attributing the job increase and low unemployment rate mainly to the “slow but reasonable economic growth, the government’s deepened reform and innovation drive, as well as pro-employment policies.”

China’s economy continued to slow in the first quarter of 2016, with the GDP growing 6.7 percent year on year to reach 15.9 trillion yuan (2.4 trillion U.S. dollars). But the figure was in line with market expectations and remained within the government’s targeted range of between 6.5 and 7 percent for 2016.

“As the national economy is under increasing downward pressure and structural reform is deepening, the employment situation is a hard-earned result,” said Li Chang’an, a professor with the University of International Business and Economics.

Creating more jobs is one of the priorities for the Chinese government to keep employment stable as millions of workers face redundancy due to mergers and reorganization in industries with overcapacity.

China aims to provide more than 10 million new urban jobs in 2016 and keep the registered urban unemployment rate below 4.5 percent, according to the government work report delivered to the annual parliamentary session in March.

The government has carried out several measures and policies to keep employment stable and avoid massive layoffs while cutting overcapacity, said Li, adding that the slowing economy and structural reform pose challenges.

Local authorities have been asked to prioritize the rights and interests of enterprise employees and take effective steps to reemploy laid-off workers or help them find other jobs as millions of tonnes of steel and coal overcapacity are phased out, according to Li.

To cushion the effect of job losses on families and society, the central government will allocate 100 billion yuan (15.4 billion U.S. dollars) to help laid-off workers find new jobs, Premier Li Keqiang said in March.

The data also shows that gross revenue of social insurance funds increased 14.7 percent year on year to 1.21 trillion yuan (186.4 billion U.S. dollars), while gross expenditures totaled 967.7 billion yuan, up 12.8 percent from a year ago.

China’s social insurance funds include basic pension funds, basic medical insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance.

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