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Employment situation called stable
By Tang Min (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-26 23:40

The registered unemployment rate in China's urban areas in the first quarter of this year was roughly the same as the 4.3 per cent figure recorded at the end of last year, according to an announcement Monday by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

The ministry Monday released a white paper on China's Employment Situation and Policies, which is the first of its kind in the country, at a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council. (see full text )

The white paper presents an overall view of the country's current basic employment situation, related governmental policies and efforts, as well as employment prospects for the near future.

Thanks to the continuous efforts of the government, the country's employment situation is "basically stable,'' according to the white paper.

Hu Xiaoyi, a spokesman for the ministry, dismissed speculation that the central government's recent moves in checking overheating in some sectors would pull the thread of a negative impact on the country's employment situation this year.

Even if the policy will affect the situation in the short term, Hu believed it should not offset the effects of a number of other policy incentives that the government has especially adopted to help ensure more employment.

The Chinese Government has so far adopted a comprehensive package of policies to employ and re-employ more people.

These are aimed primarily at creating more jobs through economic development and economic structural adjustment, improving the skills of the workforce to meet advanced employment requirements, and to build a more effective employment service network.

Therefore, Hu said he has every reason to remain optimistic regarding the country's fulfillment of its goal for this year in the regard, which is an urban unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent, 0.2 percentage points higher than that in 2003.

In addition to the employment situation in cities, the government has also attached great importance to the employment of the rural workforce.

Another aim is to create a "very benign'' employment environment for migrant labourers in cities, according to Yu Faming, director of the ministry's Training and Employment Department.

According to Yu, the long-term goal in the regard is to establish an urban-rural labour market.

But the ministry has already geared up to better protect the lawful rights and interests of migrant labourers, as well as providing equal public employment services for migrant labourers while providing more occupational training for these workers.

Meanwhile, old administrative examinations and approvals, which restrict the flow of migrant labourers into cities, especially into certain industries, have been reworked.

More employers are hiring on an equal footing based on qualifications.

Statistics from the white paper indicate that the rural employed population was 487.93 million in year 2003, making up 65.6 per cent of the national total.

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