China's serious shortage of jobs is likely to continue next year, with more than 15 million urban people unable to find work, says a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a major government think tank.
More than 25 million urban Chinese will have to look for jobs in 2007, but the number of positions available will be only 10 million, the report forecasts.
The rapid economic and industrial growth will draw a large number of rural redundant laborers to non-agricultural areas, posing a further employment challenge, it says.
The CASS estimates China has more than five million people laid off from state and collectively-owned enterprises and predicts the reforms of state-owned firms will make another 3.6 million jobless in the next three years.
More than 100 million laborers in rural areas were yet to be fully employed, widening the rural-urban income gap, said Qi Jianguo, an economist with the CASS.
Finding employment will also be more difficult for college graduates.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Security warns that 1.4 million university and college graduates are unlikely to find jobs when they finish their studies next summer.