China unveils specific measures to boost employment opportunities
Published: Apr 27, 2023 04:07 AM
Job-seekers attend a large-scale job fair in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province on February 13, 2023.?Photo: VCG

Job-seekers attend a large-scale job fair in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province on February 13, 2023.?Photo: VCG

China's State Council on Wednesday announced a series of measures aimed at stabilizing the country's employment situation. The plan includes providing at least 1 million youth internship positions, increasing financial support for small businesses, encouraging state-owned enterprises to expand recruitment, and assisting the entrepreneurial needs of college graduates and rural migrant workers.

This initiative follows improvements in China's job market during the first quarter, thanks to a steady economic recovery. However, the employment sector still faces pressure due to a record number of new college graduates expected to enter the labor market this year.

As part of the "employment first" strategy, the General Office of the State Council outlined 15 specific measures to stabilize and expand employment. These measures include supporting state-owned enterprises in increasing recruitment and calling on businesses and public institutions to create at least 1 million apprenticeship positions for young people.

Companies that hire and sign labor contracts lasting over one year with unemployed graduate students or registered unemployed youth aged 16-24 will receive a one-time subsidy. China will also encourage financial institutions to extend loans to small and micro-businesses, particularly those that create a large number of jobs, in order to maintain and expand employment.

The country will focus on the entrepreneurial needs of college graduates, migrant workers, and other groups, supporting their efforts to launch low-investment, low-risk projects.

The employment situation gradually improved and largely remained stable thanks to effective policies to stabilize the economy but the record number of college graduates certainly adds pressure to employment, which means the packages of measures are “necessary and timely” in solving the youth employment, Li Changan, a professor at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies of the University of International Business and Economics told the Global Times on Wednesday.

China's surveyed urban unemployment rate dropped to 5.3 percent in March,  down from 5.6 percent in February and also lower than 5.8 percent a year ago, and the number of new jobs created in the first three months stood at 2.97 million, up by 120,000 year on year, data from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security showed.

China aims to create 12 million jobs in cities this year and maintain a jobless rate of around 5.5 percent. Li expressed optimism about achieving these annual targets, citing favorable conditions from an upward economy to the government's employment-first policies.

“With an overall improvement in its economic performance from last year, China has the conditions and the basis to achieve its goals this year under its employment-first policy,” Li said.

The Chinese economy got off to a good start in 2023 as the gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent year on year in the first quarter, picking up pace from 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and 3 percent for the entire 2022.