SCIO briefing on China's employment and social security

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Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security

Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Feb. 29, 2016

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Minister Yin, for your brief introduction. Now you may raise questions.


I just saw that there is a datum which says under the circumstance of economic downturn in 2015, the number of new employees in urban areas has reached 13.12 million people. How was it realized? How do you understand the current and future employment situation? What will you do to boost employment for this year? Thanks!

Yin Weimin:

Employment is the basis of people's livelihood and it relates to every household. Employment is not just a way for one man to make living, but also a reflection of the man's value. The CPC and the central government have always take the promotion of employment as a priority goal for the development of both the economy and society. They implement the employment priority strategy and active employment policies, especially under the circumstance of increasing pressure from the economic downturn.They adopted a series of targeted polices and approaches to maintain the general stability of the employment situation.

As the reporter just mentioned, the number of newly increased urban employees has reached 13.12 million people, 0.8 percent lower than the number of last year on a year-on-year basis. However, the figure still managed to stay above the 13 million mark. Since 2013, the number of newly increased employees has been staying above that mark. At the end of last year, the urban unemployment registration rate was 4.05 percent, 0.04 percent lower than that of 2014 on a year-on-year basis. And key groups have seen a relatively stable employment. In the last year, 7.49 million students graduated from colleges, and their employment rate was basically even with 2014's data. Compared to 2015's figure, there were 209,000 more people being hired than last year’s statistics. At the same time, the employment transfer of rural migrant workers also expanded. By the end of last year, the total number of migrant workers reached 277 million, 3.52 million people more than in 2014.

Under the circumstances of the increasing pressure of the economic downturn, the situation of employment has still managed to stay steady, so that some media and individuals are suspecting the accuracy of the employment data. However, I can say to you with great responsibility that the situation of employment, whether good or bad, is not just reflected in the data available, but can also be observed by you in your neighborhood and from the market. If the employment situation really had a problem, I believe the media would act faster than what we would react. As to why the employment situation has had such good results, or has been "better than expected," I feel it benefited from the following three aspects.

Firstly, it mainly benefited from China’s economic medium-high growth, and the growth rate was still in a reasonable scope. As a result, it’s possible to create enough job opportunities. Last year, China’s GDP grew by 6.9 percent, which was fairly high across the world. With the economic aggregate becoming fairly large, its contribution to employment has increased. During the 11th five-year plan period (2006-2010), the increase of one percentage point of the GDP provided about 1 million job opportunities, while during the 11th five-year plan period (2011-2015), the number of newly added urban employees reached 1.7 million with the increase of one percentage point of the GDP. Since the economic pie is becoming bigger, the capacity for employment is expanding.

Secondly, it owed much to the optimization of the economic structure and dividends of reform and innovation. Last year the added value of the tertiary industries made up over 50 percent of the country's GDP for the first time, and the contribution of the service industry to employment was 20 percent than the secondary industries. In the meantime we have promoted the transformation of government functions, grassroots entrepreneurship and mass innovation, and the reform of business systems to release social energy. In 2015, the number of newly registered enterprises topped 10,000 a day on average. We all know that the entrepreneurial spirit brings greater employment opportunities and the release of dividends of reform also increases the rate of employment.

Thirdly, it profited from a proactive policy for promoting employment and the improvement of the employment service system. Last year, the State Council issued new policies of employment and entrepreneurship as well as improving existing policies. In this process public employment service agencies at various levels made great efforts to make sure that various policies of employment were fully implemented, which helped to improve employment.

Concerning the employment situation in 2016, I think it would be as complicated as the domestic and international economic situation is. It will be an arduous task to address the issue. In my opinion, this year’s employment situation will be influenced in the following three respects: Firstly, relieving the over-capacity of production will result in a partial number of employees being laid off. Secondly, with downward economic pressure, partial enterprises will experience difficulty in production and operation, which will result in reduction of jobs. Thirdly, the growing number of young graduates will continue to put pressure on employment. This year, we’ll have 7.65 million of college graduates, rising by 160,000 from last year, and a similar number of secondary vocational graduates, middle and high school graduates who will not continue their schooling. These add to 15 million of young job seekers. The pressure is obviously heavy.

However, we still feel confident in maintaining a stable job market. One important reason is that China’s economy continues to maintain sustained and sound development and in the process new modes and new drivers for economic growth are taking shape with structural adjustments, which will create a supportive environment for employment. We’ll adopt following policies this year to promote employment: First, macro-economic and industrial policies will be coordinated to create more job opportunities. Second, various measures will be adopted in an effort to resettle workers laid off while relieving production overcapacity. Third, we will continue to provide college students with more career services. Forth, vocational training will be strengthened to help job seekers improve their professional skills. Fifth, we will continue to promote entrepreneurship to expand employment, which has a great potential. And sixth, we will continuously offer good public employment services, online services in particular, to better serve the target population. Thank you.

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