Shopping for others proves a good job
Yu Fengjun, a laid-off worker, never imagined that managing a personal shopping business might one day become his career.
Now, he spends his days organizing a five-member team to help those in need get their shopping done in Dalian of Northeast China's Liaoning Province.
"I didn't expect the business would be welcomed so much when I had a go at the field," said Yu.
By assisting elderly people who find shopping difficult, or busy young professionals who have no time for shopping, Yu earns around 600 yuan (US$72) monthly. He started the new career three months ago.
Yu's business is among diversified, newly-emerging "service" careers.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs last week unveiled 10 new careers that are contributing to employment in the world's most populous country.
They include conference and exhibition planners, DV cameramen, landscape designer, animal nurses, furniture designers and animators.
The ministry is organizing experts to develop national standards for these new careers and improve the skills of workers through training.
This helps labourers seek more opportunities and improve professionalism, said Vice-Minister Zhang Xiaojian.
Meanwhile, it helps the government guide training and develop the labour market, he said.
Three groups of people are in urgent need, including university graduates, surplus rural labourers in cities and laid-off workers.
Despite a great number of unemployed, the nation has huge demand for skilled technicians.
In Guangdong Province for instance, there will be a gap of 4 million skilled workers in 2005.
Since 2002, the central government has paid more attention to strengthening its management of employment.
The nation's endeavors have paid off and this year more than 9 million more people were employed in urban areas, said Ma Kai, minister of National Development and Reform Commission, at the just-concluded annual meeting of the commission.
The registered jobless rate in urban areas stood at 4.4 per cent, 0.3 percentage points lower than the target earlier this year, he said.
But experts say, the nation still feels a lot of pressure in employment since statistics fails to take into account those unregistered jobless people and surplus labour forces in rural areas.
"Despite the improvement in recent years, I'm not optimistic about the job situations," said Professor Zhou Tianyong from Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
The number of jobless people in rural areas increased a lot, from 16.5 million in 1999 to 34.46 million this year, he said.
Employment should top the priority of the nation's macro-regulatory policy in consideration of the large surplus population in the countryside and the great job pressures in urban areas, Zhou said.