China faces a major
challenge in meeting its goal of creating 9 million jobs this year,
a senior official admitted yesterday.
"Based on the current employment situation, the
country faces huge job pressure and a grim market in the coming few
years," Tian Chengping, minister of labor and social security, said
on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the National People's
The continuing reform of State-owned enterprises will
create a huge number of laid-off workers, who will find it
difficult to find new jobs, he said.
Moreover, about 5 million college graduates, the
largest number in history, will enter the job market this year, in
addition to surplus rural laborers swarming into cities for work,
Figures from education departments showed that around
30 percent graduates could not find jobs upon graduation, he
Tian estimated that there will be 24 million job
seekers this year, but only half will find a job.
Despite this, the country hopes to keep the registered
urban unemployment rate below 4.6 percent, Premier Wen Jiabao said in his government work report
on March 5.
To alleviate the strain, the government will
strengthen training and improve public services for job
Tian brushed aside concerns that some booming coastal
regions such as Guangdong and Fujian provinces are facing a labor
"It mainly reflects a structural problem. As these
prosperous regions upgrade their industrial structure, they need
more skilled workers," he said. However, migrant workers from rural
areas usually don't meet the requirements.
"The market mechanism will come into play; it can be a
better job opportunity for workers, and could help them get raises
in salary and other perks," he added.
Zheng Chenggong, professor at Renmin University of
China, said the central government should formulate policies such
as guiding graduates to seek jobs in less developed central and
western parts of the country.
(China Daily March 14,