China sets goal for urban unemployment
Updated: 2011-12-17 09:45
By Chen Xin (China Daily)
BEIJING - China aims to keep the unemployment rate among registered city dwellers under 5 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to a statement released on Friday after an executive meeting of the State Council.
During those years, the government aims to create jobs for 45 million people in cities and 40 million unemployed laborers in the countryside.
"Employment pressures will continue to increase in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) period," said the statement, citing decisions made at the meeting, which was presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.
To meet the government's goal for unemployment rate among registered city dwellers, about 10 million jobs will have to be created each year for such people. That is about a million more a year than was created annually from 2006 to 2010, according to the statement.
At the end of the third quarter of this year, Chinese cities had a registered unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, which was unchanged from the previous quarter.
The government will place a priority on employing college graduates and unemployed laborers in the countryside. It will also improve the system it uses to provide occupational training.
Zhang Yi, an expert with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' institute of population and labor economics, said the policies have told both laborers and enterprises that the central government is placing a priority on job maintenance and creation.
China is faced with many obstacles in its fight against unemployment. About 6.8 million Chinese students graduate from colleges every year and the countryside is home to about 100 million laborers without jobs.
"College graduates are in a fairly weak position in the hunt for employment because they almost always receive low pay in their first jobs and are more likely to change jobs frequently," Zhang said.
He also said the heavy dose of theory that is inculcated into Chinese college students does little to prepare them for the realities of work.
Zhang said students should receive practical training before they leave school.
He also said more training and retraining should be offered to migrant workers to make them better competitors for work.
"China now stands at a point where it can eliminate industries that both produce little and consume a lot of energy, while it improves and develops the high-tech industry," he said. "Training is essential to both promoting employment and improving the labor market."
China is home to about 250 million migrant workers.
To keep the labor market and society stable, laborers should be given assurances that their wages will not be delayed, he said.
Wang Ying, an expert with the China employment training technical instruction center, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said the center has been working with local governments to train migrant workers in accordance with the needs of businesses.
Wang said the organization is also working to move unemployed laborers out of the countryside and into cities, where there is a demand for their work.
Xinhua contributed to this story.