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Job market stable as companies fold
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08:26, March 09, 2009

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Nearly 1,000 enterprises in Guangdong province's Shenzhen went under last year, but the local job market remained stable, Mayor Xu Zongheng said yesterday.

"The global economic meltdown has had remarkable impact on Shenzhen's development, which largely depends on the overseas market for economic and trade growth," Xu told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing National People's Congress session in Beijing.

Up to 60 percent of Shenzhen's foreign-funded enterprises are from neighboring Hong Kong, and most goods sent from Shenzhen to overseas markets are exported through the special administrative region, Xu said.

As many as 903 enterprises folded last year, leaving about 3 percent of the city's labor force, or 90,000 migrant workers, jobless, Xu said. "More than 60 percent of these enterprises had to close their doors because they were unable to sustain business in the global financial crisis' wake," he said.

The rest - nearly 300 enterprises - were closed because they failed to meet environmental protection requirements, Xu said.

But the city last year approved up to 35,800 new enterprises, of which half are involved in the modern service and hi-tech sectors, Xu pointed out.

"These new enterprises have greatly helped create more employment for migrant workers, ensuring the job market remained stable," he said.

About 4.5 million migrant workers left the city last year, but some 4.9 million have returned after the Spring Festival, Xu said.

"We attach great importance to migrant workers' employment, and have used a series of measures to help them get back to work in the city since the end of last year," Xu said.

These included free job markets organized by local labor authorities and enterprises, and free training courses for migrant workers, Xu said.

"Migrant workers who have been employed in Shenzhen for a certain period of time are allowed to apply for residence permits," Xu said.

In another development, Xu said people with temporary residence permits in Shenzhen could also apply for Hong Kong tourism passes with unlimited entries from May.

Also, Shenzhen's permanent residence permit holders would be able to visit Hong Kong with unlimited passes from April to enhance the two cities' integration, Xu said. Shenzhen currently has 2.32 million people with permanent residence cards and 6.44 million with temporary permits, he said.

Source: China Daily

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