Job market shows progress toward quality growth
The recently released National Bureau of Statistics data for the first half of the year show the unemployment rate in urban areas has stayed at a relatively low level, between 4.8 percent and 5 percent. The newly released surveyed unemployment rate since April can better reflect the true situation of the labor market than the previous registered unemployment rate.
This suggests China's unemployment rate is well under control despite the fluctuating global economy and the emerging trend of anti-globalization and protectionism in some economies.
The continuing low unemployment rate is a significant sign that China is on track to transition to a high-quality economy after effecting economic structural adjustment. According to NBS calculations, the employment elasticity coefficient in China's primary and secondary industries, which indicates the labor absorbing capacity of an industry, is negative while that of the tertiary industry positive. It means the primary and secondary industries' economic growth is negative to employment growth, while the growth of the tertiary industry is conducive to employment generation.
The new economy, new industry and new business are developing rapidly, and many micro and small business startups are emerging which, thanks to their development potential, are creating many more jobs. And the growth of such startups, the majority of them being in the tertiary industry, is one of the main reasons that China's employment rate is increasing despite the trend of economic slowdown.
Different from Western developed countries' capital-driven employment model, China has established a "self-driven employment model", which encourages people to research market demand, seek business opportunities to participate in innovation and startups, and increase the employment rate. More important, the self-driven employment model is less likely to be affected by external economic fluctuations or other external factors. The model also promotes the sustainable development of the national economy and, in the process, will help China to build a moderately prosperous society by 2020.
The low unemployment rate is the result of China's efforts to transition from high-speed economic growth to medium-high speed but qualitative growth.
According to the new coordinated, innovative, green, open and sharing development philosophy, China will pay greater attention to improving people's livelihoods while ensuring sustainable development. In fact, serious infringement of workers' rights and interests, "such as employers intentionally defaulting on employees' salary, randomly dismissing labor contracts or reducing their term, has reduced to a large extent.
The low unemployment rate is also the result of deepening administrative reform and delegation of power to the lower-level and local authorities. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China made it clear the country's principal contradiction has evolved to that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. And to resolve this principal contradiction, China has to stick to the people-oriented development philosophy.
Employment is the foundation of people's livelihood, and providing employment for the people is the government's responsibility. The central government has increased the fiscal expenditure ratio of people's livelihood in general, and governments at various levels have taken various measures to create jobs and reduce unemployment. For instance, Hainan province provides unemployment subsidy to the jobless, the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area has established an "internet plus new citizen comprehensive service platform" to promote employment, and Shanxi province has launched five projects to promote employment among certain groups such as college students. All these measures will effectively expand the employment scale and improve the quality of employment in China.
So we can safely say that the low unemployment rate is the comprehensive result of China's economic and social development, which in turn will facilitate the building of a moderately prosperous society in the next two years.
The author is a researcher with Chinese Academy of Labor and Social Security.