China's employment leadership group to offset pressure of US trade war on jobs

By Xie Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/23 21:05:31

A job seeker is interviewed at a job hunting meeting in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, on Saturday. Photo: IC

The Chinese government will set up a top-level employment leadership group, a move that an expert said on Thursday showed the country's policy tone is intended to stabilize employment to confront pressure on the labor market exerted by the ongoing China-US trade war.

The State Council announced on Wednesday that it will establish the group to better implement government employment policies, according to a statement published on the website. 

The group will also study solutions to major issues in employment, coordinate China's employment work and discuss employment policies, laws and regulations that are to be launched.  

Vice Premier Hu Chunhua was appointed leader of the group. 

The move comes as the ongoing China-US trade war is sparking market worries about unemployment and lower salaries because of slumping trade. 

Yan Yuejin, research director at E-house China R&D Institute, said that the establishment of the employment leadership group is a reflection of the government's policy tone to stabilize employment. 

"It shows the government's inclination to offset risks on international markets, which will be helpful for stabilizing the domestic market," said Yan. 

Lin Jiang, an economics professor at Lingnan University, said that the government has noticed the increasing pressure exerted by the escalating China-US trade war on the domestic job market and is taking measures to confront this pressure. 

Shi Xinyu, a trader based in Yiwu, the renowned marketplace in East China's Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times recently that in his observation, small commodity vendors in Yiwu are quite flexible and sensitive to changes.

They are using various methods to avoid the negative impact of the trade war, so their businesses and employment levels are not affected that much. But large original equipment manufacturers in China that have business links with the US are finding it much harder to turn around. 

Lin also said that some companies he knows are inclined to shrink their assembly lines, which would lead to job cuts, if the trade war worsens further. 

Judging from statistics, such downward pressure on the job market has already emerged. Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics in April showed that China's urban unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in March, up 0.1 percentage points year-on-year. 

A report from Guosen Securities noted that such an unemployment level has been "relatively high in recent years." 

According to Lin, apart from pressure from the trade war, automation in the manufacturing sector as it upgrades is also driving up the jobless rate.  

Lin said that the State Council employment leadership group can take such measures as improving the business climate for domestic companies, rewarding companies that don't cut jobs, and integrating economies in different regions and industries to boost employment. 

"I think the impact from the trade dispute on the domestic economy is still controllable and with those measures in place, the negative influence of the trade war can be offset," Lin said. 

Newspaper headline: Employment leadership group to offset pressure of trade war on jobs

Posted in: ECONOMY

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