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More Job Created, but Still Much to Be Done

Last year was a good time for the jobless because nearly 12 million of them found work in cities across the country, that is, 2 million more than in 2005.

According to National Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday, the private sector recruited about 80 per cent of the 11.84 million people who got jobs last year. The previous year had seen 9.7 million jobless people employed.

Township firms generated nearly 3.8 million new jobs for both urban and rural residents last year, 890,000 more than their average annual new employments during the 10th Five-Year Plan period (2001-05), China Information News, the bureau's official newspaper, reported on Wednesday.

The rate of registered urban jobless by the end of last year was 4.1 percent, a drop of 0.1 percent year on year.

Speaking at the national working conference last week, Minister of Labor and Social Security Tian Chengping said economic growth, especially the booming private sector, was the main reason for the improved job market.

But despite that, the economic engine failed to generate as many jobs as expected. In the 1980s, a 1-percent GDP growth could increase employment by 0.4 percent.

But the ratio has fallen to 0.3 per cent in the past several years because the economic growth model is no longer as labor-intensive as it was in the past, the deputy director of the employment department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, Wang Yadong, said at the working conference.

Experts, too, said China's GDP growth was being pushed up mainly by large enterprises and projects that didn't generate as many jobs as small businesses.

Unemployment pressure is rising with the country's population growth. China will have 1.01 billion people aged between 15 and 64 by 2016, which would be more than the total working force of all the developed countries put together, according to a National Population and Family Planning Commission report published two weeks ago.

Also, in the next 20 years, about 300 million rural residents are expected to shift to cities if the current momentum of urbanization continues, the report said.

(China Daily January 26, 2007)

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