Businesses change course amid COVID-19

By Hu Yuanyuan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-27 08:04
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Farmers sort crayfish at a market in Poyang county, Jiangxi province. [Photo by Zhuo Zhongwei/For China Daily]

Although no target has been set for economic growth in this year's Government Work Report, there is a clear and specific aim for employment: creating more than 9 million new urban jobs; a surveyed urban unemployment rate of about 6 percent; and a registered urban unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent.

Premier Li Keqiang, delivering the Government Work Report to the opening of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress on Friday, said, "All local governments need to overhaul or rescind excessive restrictions on employment, and adopt all possible measures to bolster employment."

Statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security show that the registered unemployment rate at the end of last year was 3.62 percent, with an additional 13 million jobs created in urban areas.

Zeng Xiangquan, director of the China Institute for Employment Research at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said: "The short-term shock produced by COVID-19 has increased pressure on the Chinese job market, but opportunities often go hand in hand with challenges. Opportunities can be anticipated in areas such as flexible employment, information sharing, targeted talent training, new technological changes and the booming digital economy."

In Zhou's case, although some of the students participating in the online program at her studio had earlier lost their jobs, most of them have found ways to survive.

"For instance, one of them is learning psychology, especially positive discipline, so she can help accompany clients' children, and some of them are trying to give clients fashion tips through online platforms," Zhou said.

She is just one of millions of people striving to restructure their businesses as a result of the pandemic.

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