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China Allocates 26 Bln Yuan to Reduce Unemployment

China's Ministry of Finance will allocate 26 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion) this year to get more people employed, senior ministry official You Mingchun said on Thursday.

Funding is mainly for training and subsidies and also offers small loans to start-ups.

The country has been increasing spending to promote employment since 2002, said You, adding the spending rose to 23.8 billion yuan last year from 4.1 billion yuan in 2003.

Local governments will also earmark more funds this year, said the official, without giving a specific amount. Local authorities allocated 8.9 billion yuan in 2006 and 12.6 billion yuan in 2007.

China's urban unemployed population was 8.25 million at the end of the first quarter of this year, according to statistics from the ministry of human resources and social security.

Between January and March, 3.03 million urbanites found a job, or 30 percent of the annual goal of 10 million. Meanwhile, 1.28 million layoffs were re-employed, or 26 percent of the annual target of 5 million.

(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2008)

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