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Minister: Employment Situation 'Very Severe' This Year

China's Labor and Social Security Minister Tian Chengping said on Sunday that employment situation is "very severe" this year, although the country provided 51 million jobs in urban areas in the last five years.

He said on the sidelines of the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress that about 20 million new laborers emerge in urban and rural areas every year, and China will have a large contingent of new labor force for quite a long time.

However, the cities and towns can only provide around 12 million job posts every year, and a large quantity of rural laborers are flowing into cities, Tian said.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in his government work report at the parliamentary session on Wednesday that "providing adequate employment opportunities in China, which has the largest population in the world, is a daunting challenge."

"We must redouble our efforts to increase employment, a matter that is crucial to people's well-being," the premier said.

Some economists predicted that the tight monetary policy may slow investment enthusiasm, but at the same time put more pressure on the country's already strained employment market.

Tian said six measures would be taken to promote employment:

-- implementing employment expansion strategy and putting priority on employment promotion in the course of social and economic development;

-- improving the active employment policy;

-- building a vigorous mechanism in which employment is boosted via encouraging business startups;

-- improving the employment service system for job-seekers in urban and rural areas;

-- providing occupational training to laborers so as to solve the structural difficulty in employment;

-- establishing an unemployment early warning system and striving to maintain a stable employment situation.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2008)

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