Trade war impact on China’s employment manageable: Davos attendees

By Chu Daye in Dalian Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/3 21:28:40

Companies must rethink pursuit of efficiency amid innovation drive

Job hunters look at posts on a board during a local career fair in Pingliang, Northwest China's Gansu Province on June 23. Photo: VCG


The impact of the trade war with the US on Chinese employment will be manageable, as the job market is stable and the number of China's jobs is likely to grow, executives and experts attending the ongoing Summer Davos 2019 said.

On Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang linked the concept of first-half economic growth staying within a reasonable range to relatively full employment. The comments came in a keynote speech at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019, also known as Summer Davos, in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province.

The surveyed urban unemployment rate remains at a stable, relatively low level of 5 percent, Li said, in a discussion of the state of the economy.

On Monday, Ning Gaoning, who has been at the helm of four large centrally administered state-owned enterprises, said that employment data is sound and the closely watched GDP figure is not as important as employment statistics. If employment is doing fine, there is no need to be obsessed with the GDP growth rate, Ning said. 

Han Jian, an associate professor with the China Europe International Business School, said that the projected impact of the trade war varies, with estimated job losses ranging from 500,000 in the best-case scenario to 27 million in the worst-case scenario, depending on which research institute calculated the figure.

"The actual negative impact arises from a lack of enthusiasm to invest, the hit on export-oriented manufacturing and supply-chain disruptions on technology companies," Han told the Global Times on Wednesday.

New jobs

But, Han said that in recent years, new business generated by the internet and mobile internet has created at least 30 million jobs, which showed that the capacity of the Chinese economy to create jobs outstrips the maximum damage the trade war can bring. 

China's surveyed unemployment rate stayed at 5 percent in May, below a stated target of 5.5 percent, an official with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said at a the State Council Information Office press conference on June 14.

The country created 5.97 million jobs from January to May, more than half of the stated annual target, according to the official.

Li Chang'an, a professor at the Department of Public Economics at the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday that the better-than-expected performance in employment was the result of China's preemptive approach in policymaking.

"The government has treated employment as its priority," Li said, noting that the sound employment situation was achieved against a backdrop of growing downward pressure on the domestic economy and external challenges such as the China-US trade war.

China for the first time in 2019 elevated its employment policy to the same level of importance as its monetary and fiscal policies.

Changing needs

However, as Chinese companies pursue innovation-led growth, they need change the way they manage staff.

The pursuit of efficiency alone, which previously dominated business operations, needs to give way to effectiveness and diversification, Han said. 

"Staff need a more diversified environment and need more patience and trust from their employers to create innovative products and services," Han said.

"External uncertainty and challenges from industrial transformation will continue to pose threats to job creation efforts in the second half," Li said.
Newspaper headline: Trade war impact manageable: analysts

Posted in: ECONOMY

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