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Official: employment situation still grave in China
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14:49, August 04, 2009

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The employment situation in China is still grave despite signs of recovery in the first half this year, said Wang Yadong, an official of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Tuesday.

He said at a press conference in Beijing that there is still risk of unemployment as the global financial crisis has not yet bottomed out.

In response to questions about migrant worker employment, Wang said 95 percent of the 70 million homebound migrant workers have headed back to cities after the Spring Festival.

The remaining 5 percent have either found work in their hometowns or started up their own businesses there, he said.

According to Wang, 18 million migrant workers returned home jobless before the Spring Festival as the financial crisis forced closure of factories in the coastal regions, where they used to work.

The figure, based on a survey jointly conducted by the ministry and the National Bureau of Statistics during the Spring Festival, is less than earlier, put at 20 million by Chen Xiwen, director of the office of the central leading group on rural work, in February.

Wang said about 50 percent of migrant workers, or 70 million, returned home before the Spring Festival, the most important occasion for Chinese to get together with their families.

He said of the total 225 million farmer-turned workers across the nation at the end of last year, 140 million worked outside their hometown, or called migrant workers.

In an update to the figure, Wang said another 10 million farmers headed to cities to find jobs in the first six months of this year.

He added that only three percent of migrant workers in the cities are still struggling to find work as of the end of June, painting a rosy picture of employment among migrant workers.

Three million college graduates still need jobs, he said. These included 32 percent of this year's record 6.11 million graduates and those who graduated last year but did not find work.

There were signs of recovery in China's employment in the first half as the registered unemployment rate in urban areas reached 4.3 percent at the end of June. This was unchanged compared from the end of March, but up from 4.2 percent at the end of 2008.

The number of the country's urban residents registered as unemployed was 9.06 million as of June 30, down 90,000 from the end of the first quarter.

The government would continue efforts to boost employment during the second half this year to ensure the urban registered unemployment rate under 4.6 percent, the annual target the government set at the beginning of this year, Wang said.


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