Local governments, even those with a two-digit economic growth, may still
fail their year-end work assessment if they cannot create more jobs.
A draft law on employment promotion, discussed yesterday for the first time
at the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top
legislature, suggests that a low jobless rate should be a major index of
The draft law, tabled at the 26th session of the 10th Standing Committee,
urges governments at all levels to set an unemployment rate target and nail down
the functions and responsibilities of each department concerned. If the target
is missed, causes and responsibilities should be looked into.
China's current urban unemployment rate is about 4.3 percent.
The draft law asks governments above the county level to establish an early
warning system to prevent and regulate possible large-scale unemployment, and
urges relevant departments to increase financial input to create more job
It calls for favorable policies such as tax reduction to be adopted to
support labor-intensive industries and private businesses that create many jobs.
The draft also requires governments to support vocational schools, and
employers to launch pre-employment training. Government-run employment agencies
are urged to provide free services.
Minister of Labor and Social Security Tian Chengping said yesterday that some
local governments perform poorly in employment promotion, focussing instead on
economic growth, which they consider the most important index if not the only
one to assess their work.
However, figures from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security show that
China faces a serious employment situation.
In the next few years, about 24 million people will enter the job market each
year, including laid-off workers, university graduates, demobilized servicemen
and migrant workers. But under the current circumstances, only half that number
of jobs will be available.
Apart from the huge imbalance between supply and demand, the structural
imbalance between what is being offered and what is required is also getting
Tian said a large number of laid-off workers and migrant people cannot meet
the requirements of employers because they lack proper vocational training.
"To improve the current situation, a law on employment promotion is urgently
needed," he said.
(China Daily 02/27/2007 page1)