China still has favorable conditions to maintain stable employment: official

(Global Times) 09:16, May 17, 2022

China's surveyed urban unemployment rate continued to climb in April amid economic downward pressure, yet major employment groups remained basically stable, and the country still has many favorable conditions to maintain stable employment, a senior official said on Monday.

In April, China's surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 6.1 percent, up 0.3 percentage points from March, and a new high since March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.

The surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities came in at 6.7 percent in April as recent flare-ups of COVID-19 occurred in multiple locations, including Shanghai and Changchun, capital of Northeast China's Jilin Province.

In the first four months of the year, the average surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.7 percent, and 4.06 million new urban jobs were created, according to the NBS data.

The surveyed urban unemployment rate has risen, but the employment of major groups remains basically stable, Fu Linghui, a spokesperson for the NBS, told a press conference on Monday.

"Since March this year, it has become more difficult for some people to find employment, and some job seekers have also been affected to a certain extent due to the impact of the epidemic," Fu said, noting that as the coordination between epidemic control and economic and social development continues to be effective, the adverse effect of the epidemic will be gradually controlled.

"China still has many favorable conditions to maintain stable employment despite the current difficulties," Fu said, while adding that the complex international situation and ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the domestic economy have both weighed on China's employment market.

The country aims to create over 11 million new urban jobs and keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate at no more than 5.5 percent in 2022, according to this year's government work report.

In April, the urban unemployment rate among those aged between 25 and 59, the majority of the labor market, stood at 5.3 percent, up 0.1 percentage points compared with the previous month, according to the NBS.

However, employment pressure for workers younger than 24 became prominent in April as the rate was significantly higher than the overall level - a record high of 18.2 percent, an increase of 2.2 percentage points from March.

This year, the number of new graduates from universities and colleges is expected to hit a new record and exceed 10 million for the first time. The record number plus the disruptions caused by the pandemic will lead to mounting pressure for youth, experts noted.

In response, both the central and local governments have ramped up efforts to stabilize employment by rolling out effective measures.

On Friday, the State Council, China's cabinet, announced measures to help young people, especially college graduates, find jobs and set up businesses. Detailed support policies in a document included subsidies to employers that hire more graduates and guaranteed loans for young entrepreneurs.

A notice issued recently by the human resources authority of East China's Jiangsu Province underscored the driving role of investment in creating new jobs, and it put the employment of college graduates as the top priority.

A prerequisite for securing employment is to first secure market entities, according to Qiao Baoyun, head of the Central University of Finance and Economics' China Academy of Public Finance and Policy. He pointed out that market entities are faced with major problems such as rising financing costs that need to be addressed.

"The government will further reduce taxes and fees, and bolster support for the real economy this year, which will be conducive to helping enterprises and stabilizing jobs," said the NBS spokesperson.

Apart from government support measures, enterprises and recruitment platforms are making efforts to facilitate employment, by fully utilizing the country's advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) while adopting trending platforms, including livestreaming, to conduct online exams and interviews.

Zhaopin.com, one of China's largest online recruitment platforms, has implemented a mechanism for enterprises to select interviewees by incorporating AI technology, as the mechanism will automatically score applicants based on smart analysis to evaluate their performance, according to a report it sent to the Global Times on Monday.

The platform has also adopted livestreaming as a means to connect enterprise and fresh graduates, which can more efficiently match applicants with suitable positions and simplify the hiring process.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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