China's economic stimulus creates 22 million jobs, but pressure remains: minister

08:22, September 17, 2010      

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An estimated 22 million jobs have been created in China by the government's 4-trillion-yuan (595.4 billion U.S. dollars) stimulus package over the last two years, but the country is facing new pressures in matching its rapidly expanding labor pool with its changing economy, a senior government official said Thursday.

The government viewed jobs growth as extremely important to maintain and improve living standards and for social and economic development, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin said at the fifth Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting in Beijing.

In late 2008, it introduced a range of stimulus measures to expand domestic demand and boost economic growth. The two-year program involved a total investment of 4 trillion yuan.

A key focus was to create and preserve jobs with the goal of reaching full employment, said Yin.

China had helped hard-hit enterprises to retain jobs by allowing them to defer social insurance payments. The government had also reduced rates of social insurance contributions and provided a social insurance subsidies for businesses.

The move covered 1.6 million enterprises last year, and helped retain 60 million jobs, said Yin.

However, he said, "China is facing a new challenge as the labor market develops. In particular, youth employment pressure increases as urban job seekers enter the labor market for the first time and young rural workers look for non-agricultural jobs in the cities."

A report on China's human resources issued by the State Council Information Office Friday said China had a labor force of more than 1 billion people, 112 million more than in 2000, and the number of people in employment was almost 780 million.

In addition, when the country accelerated industrial restructuring, the employment market ran short of skilled workers and talent, Yin said.

The country needed to provide better training for workers and job seekers, he said.

"One of the major purposes of this meeting is to work out a program for APEC members to jointly promote skills training. China will try its best to implement the program if it is reached," Yin said.

Human resources officials from 21 APEC members are attending the meeting, which is aimed at providing a platform for participants to explore ways to address the challenges of the global economic downturn and to realize inclusive growth.

"China lacks high-level talent. While attracting foreign investment, the country should also work to attract more talent from abroad," said Wang Huiyao, vice president of the Western Returned Scholars Association and Chinese Overseas-Educated Scholars Association.

The government launched a program last year, offering financial support to overseas-educated people to start their careers in China. This year, 34 projects were selected by the ministry for the program.



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