| Global Times | 2013-5-14 23:53:00
By Yang Jingjie
Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday highlighted the importance of creating jobs, vowing to expand economic development so as to support employment.
Xi made the remarks during a visit to a human resources development center and a vocational training facility in Tianjin.
"Employment is the foundation for people's livelihoods, and is a worldwide concern. We should attach great importance to the problem by taking the overall situation into consideration," Xi was quoted by the Xinhua News Agency as saying.
In the government's report delivered to the National People's Congress in March, the central government set a goal to keep the registered urban unemployment rate at or below 4.6 percent for this year.
"Development will be essential, as without a sound economic growth, the country won't be able to support employment," said Xi.
Xi also visited a local job fair, and held talks with college graduates and the unemployed.
Economic growth has long been believed to be in tandem with job creation.
Since the second half of last year, China's GDP growth has slowed down, with the growth in the first quarter of 2013 slowing to 7.7 percent.
The country's Purchasing Managers' Index for the manufacturing sector fell to 50.6 percent in April from 50.9 a month earlier, also indicating sluggish growth.
Yao Yuqun, a professor on labor economics at the Renmin University of China, expressed his worries to the Global Times over the employment situation, noting that the depressed export situation would hinder surplus rural labor from transferring to urban areas.
Yao put the number of surplus rural labor at more than 150 million people, warning the number would further expand as the government is expected to carry out reforms on the ownership of rural land.
Meanwhile, college graduates are facing arguably the most difficult situation ever to get a job this year, as nearly 7 million graduates across the country are flooding to hubs.
The Shanghai Evening Post said the situation is even more severe compared with that seen during the global financial crisis. By the end of April, only 30 percent of college students who are to graduate this year in Shanghai had been hired, 10 percentage points lower than in previous years. In Beijing, by April 19, only 28.24 percent of new graduates had found jobs.
Last year, nearly 3,000 university graduates competed for sanitary worker positions in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, eyeing for the urban household registration permit and the government personnel quota that the job guaranteed, despite its low barrier to entry.
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