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UPDATED: 14:34, June 25, 2004
Working age population to reach 940 mln by 2020
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China's population above the age of 16 will grow by 5.5 million annually on average in the next 20 years and the total population of working age will reach 940 million by 2020, said a government white paper issued on Monday.

In this period, the country will still face severe employment pressure due to various factors, such as the huge population base,age structure of the population, population migration, and the process of social and economic development, said the white paper, titled "China's Employment Situation and Policies" issued by the Information Office of the State Council.

The population of working age is growing at the fastest rate, increasing by 13.6 million annually on average, during the period of the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2001-2005), according to the white paper.

While the population of working age keeps increasing, there arenow 150 million rural surplus laborers who need to be transferred,and over 11 million unemployed and laid-off persons who need to beemployed or reemployed.

The white paper said that China's general goal in solving the employment problem in the early years of the 21st century is: according to the general requirements for building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, to foster and carry out a scientific concept of development, to meet the demand of economic and social development for human resources development and utilization, to satisfy the desire of the broad masses of laborersto work and to raise their income levels, to endeavor to realize relatively full employment, and to control the unemployment rate within limits endurable to society.

In the year 2020, the total employed population is expected to reach 840 million, said the white paper.

According to the white paper, China will take a series of measures to solve the employment problem. These may include:

-- Maintaining the relatively rapid growth of the economy, and putting the work of employment and reemployment in a more salient position;

-- Promoting the readjustment of economic structure and the improvement of employment structure in coordination, and expandingthe capacity of employment;

-- Adhering to coordinated economic and social development of urban and rural areas, and making overall plans for urban and rural employment;

-- Establishing and improving a market-oriented employment mechanism with free choice of jobs by laborers as the salient feature and the legal system of the government as the foundation;

-- Raising the level of education, strengthening vocational training, and tailoring the level of human resources quality improvement to the needs of economic development;

-- Making rational arrangement in social security and employment, and providing basic subsistence guarantee and employment assistance for the underprivileged group;

-- Raising the level of opening-up, giving play to China's advantage in labor resources, actively implementing the strategy of "going global", and opening up the international labor market.

Source: Xinhua

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