China's urban unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in the first quarter, said spokesman Yin Chengji of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) in Beijing on Thursday.
The rate was higher than the 2008 year-end figure of 4.2 percent.
Altogether 2.68 million new jobs were created in cities across the country in the first quarter 2009, about one-third of the target of 9 million this year, Yin said.
New jobs created in cities averaged to about 890,000 a month in the first quarter of 2009. The figure is about 11.6 percent lower from the same period last year, but 51.4 percent higher than that in the fourth quarter of 2008, Yin said.
This indicates new jobs created in cities increased steadily in the first quarter, from 690,000 in January to 930,000 in February and 1.06 million in March, Yin said.
A total of 1.2 million laid-off workers found jobs in the first quarter, about 24 percent of the target of 5 million this year, Yin said.
Yin said 90 percent of the migrant workers, who returned to rural homes before the Spring Festival, went back to cities for jobs, and only about 7 million migrant workers stayed at home by the end of the first quarter.
The labor arbitration centers at different levels handled 217,000 cases in the first quarter, Yin said.
The growth rate of the number of people joining in social insurance dwindled in the first quarter due to impacts from economic and employment changes. The trend is most obvious in unemployment insurance and work- injuries insurance, Yin said.