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Graduates Emerge Into Global Crisis

For Jin Zhenghao, this November has been the most stressful month in his 25 years of life.

A financial engineering major at Xiamen University in southeast China's Fujian Province, Jin is desperately trying to find a job before graduating in June 2009.

November is when the school gave him time to market himself to potential employers. Jin has sent resumes to nearly 30 companies, resulting in five interviews. So far, he has received no job offers.

Now, Jin is paying 2,000 yuan (US$293) a month to live in Shanghai, the country's financial hub, in hopes of securing more interviews.

"Companies either have few vacancies or simply don't want new people," Jin said. Only a year ago, he added, graduates like him, would end up with job offers from several well-known international or domestic companies before graduation.

"The situation is obviously very bad this year. The financial crisis is a major reason," said Jin. "I'm really worried."

Many financial firms, particularly big-name foreign companies, have trimmed their workforce this year due to stock market woes.

Jin is not the only one to feel the fallout of economic meltdown in the developed countries. Thousands of factories which used to manufacture shoes, clothes or toys for export, have closed or are struggling for survival as foreign orders declined.

This not only means there are more unemployed people, but also fewer opportunities for first-time job seekers.

Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Zhang Xiaojian said on Thursday that 6.1 million college graduates will leave schools in the first half of next year.

An additional 4 million college students who graduated in previous years have not found jobs and will also be vying for limited opportunities.

Professor Yue Changjun, an expert on education and economy at Peking University in Beijing, said 67,000 private Chinese companies closed in the first half of this year.

According to Yue, this is a significant figure because private companies employed 34.2 percent of college graduates last year.

"How come I can't find a job?" a Peking University student, anonymously named "Rebecca ycj", asked in a message posted on the university's online forum.

The law student said she applied for jobs at several firms, state-owned enterprises, banks and even a news agency, but every time she was refused.

Zhang said the government, schools and students were moving quickly to try to address the difficulties. A total of 259 job fairs are currently under way throughout China. Nearly 30,000 enterprises, government organizations and public institutions will offer 500,000 jobs at those fairs before November 30, said Zhang.

(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2008)

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