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NBS: private enterprises to be included in Chinese residents' income statistics
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17:21, August 07, 2009

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The public has raised some questions about data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) such as urban and rural per capita income and average wages in the first half of 2009. In response, Ma Jiantang, commissioner of the NBS, said inconsistencies between statistics is a tough issue faced by statistical authorities in many countries. He added that the NBS has always been open to questions and criticism from people from all walks of life and has also always listened to and analyzed public opinions carefully.

In the first half, China's urban per capita income rose 9.8 percent year-on-year and rural per capita income 8.1 percent year-on-year, both of which were higher than the GDP growth rate of 7.1 percent during the same period, leading to controversy.

Feng Nailin, director-general of the Department of Population and Employment Statistics, said that given upward wage rigidity and delayed payment of wages, wage increases will not fall as quickly as other economic indicators. Furthermore amid the international financial crisis, the number of posts and enterprises related to low wages has decreased while the number of posts and enterprises related to high wages experienced a smaller decline, which is one reason why average wage data has continued to rise.

Feng added that the existing wage statistical system does have flaws that mainly lie in its limited scope. Under the planned economy, economic entities were either state-owned or collective owned. With the intensification of China's economic system reform, other types of economic entities, such as joint-stock and foreign-funded enterprises, were incorporated into the wage statistical system. However, urban private enterprises and individual-owned businesses have not yet been included. This means that only a third or 130 million people of around 300 urban employees were included in the statistical scope.

The NBS started reforming the wage statistical system in 2006. It has carried out a pilot program to collect wage data related to private entities and worked out preliminary statistics for 2008. The NBS has been consulting with relevant departments and commissions on how to use and publish wage data on private entities because average wage is a key indicator in formulating social security, national compensation and other policies. The NBS is also accelerating research on methods of collecting wage data for individual-owned businesses with a fairly large number of employees.

By People's Daily Online

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