SCIO press conference on employment, social security

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China News Service:

Migrant workers have started returning to their posts and resuming production since the Spring Festival. Meanwhile, enterprises are also hiring employees. Could you please share more information in this regard? Thank you. 

Wang Xiaoping:

This is a good question. It is about the employment situation this year. Given the slowing economic growth rate, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the complex and volatile external environment in 2022, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have taken decisive and effective measures. Local governments and relevant departments have resolutely shouldered the responsibility to stabilize and ensure employment. They rose to the challenge and forged ahead with resolve. As a result, the overall employment situation has remained stable. A total of 12.06 million new urban jobs were created, and the employment of key groups was stable. Moreover, some 32.78 million people lifted out of poverty found jobs, an increase from the level of the previous year. 

As the performance of the Chinese economy improves, employment will rebound this year so that the overall situation will remain stable. This is due to important factors as follows. The CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to employment, and the 20th CPC National Congress made a series of important deployments to ensure employment. These policies have served as guiding principles to ensure high-quality and full employment. The Chinese economy enjoys strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality. The fundamentals sustaining its long-term growth have remained strong. These have created favorable conditions to maintain employment stability in the long run. Moreover, innovation and entrepreneurship continue to provide new jobs, serving as a driving force to promote employment. The policies of stabilizing and ensuring employment will continue to be implemented, and the policies of reducing burdens, stabilizing jobs and increasing employment will be adjusted and improved. Skills training and activities to promote employment will also be held. These aspects will thereby ensure and expand employment. Thanks to all these efforts, we have the confidence and determination to ensure employment.

Nevertheless, we must understand that employment pressure will continue to exist regarding its total number. The number of college graduates will hit 11.58 million in 2023, while structural issues surrounding difficulty in hiring and finding jobs remain serious. Moreover, the challenge of hiring general workers and the shortage of technical workers persist. We will actively solve the most pressing difficulties of deep concern to the people regarding their employment, such as more job opportunities, more reasonable work remuneration, and more reliable social insurance. 

Just as you mentioned, the period following the Spring Festival sees a significant flow of workers, and businesses and enterprises usually resume their production after the holiday. This is, therefore, a crucial time for us to step up efforts to ensure employment. We have worked with relevant departments to launch the "Spring Breeze Action" initiative, offering people employment opportunities by holding job fairs online and offline nationwide. In this way, both ends of labor transfer will cooperate closer, facilitating migrant workers to find jobs, especially those lifted out of poverty.

The job market has been stable and progressing steadily in the first two months of this year, which is better than expected. Compared with previous years, it has three notable features. First, the laborers left for work early. On the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, some migrant workers already left their hometowns for work, hoping to resume their posts early. Second, companies have started their recruitment efforts earlier than in previous years. Many enterprises initiated employment negotiations before the Spring Festival holiday, with tailormade workforce being arranged right after the holiday, hoping to begin work and production as soon as possible. Third, recruitment activities have been busy. Job fairs across the country have been bustling with crowds, and there has been a significant increase in job seekers. As of the end of February, 46,000 recruitment service activities have been held, and 32 million job positions have been posted, indicating a promising start for China's employment situation this year.

Moving forward, we will prioritize stabilizing employment and view it as a primary political task. We will fully implement various measures to stabilize the job market, including stabilizing existing employments, expanding new job opportunities, improving quality, and ensuring basic employment needs. Our efforts to stabilize employment will be unwavering. We will strengthen support for enterprises to overcome difficulties and provide targeted assistance to the service sector, small- and micro-sized enterprises, and self-employed businesses, all with large employment capacities, to stabilize and expand their workforce. We will ensure our employment policies are targeted and implemented efficiently to benefit those enterprises directly. We will strengthen support for innovation and entrepreneurship and encourage business startups among key groups. We will also create a better market environment for casual laborers and fully implement our policies to protect the rights and interests of laborers engaging in new kinds of jobs. We will strengthen our efforts to provide targeted policies, expand market-based employment avenues while stabilizing the scale of job positions in the public sector, and ensure young people including college graduates can find jobs or start their own businesses. We will support people in rural areas to find jobs outside their hometowns or in nearby places so as to stabilize employment for rural workers including those lifted out of poverty. We will assist job seekers and provide a subsistence allowance for those in need, ensuring that their basic living needs are met. We will increase quality and efficiency in improving the public service system for employment and organize professional training programs in large scale to balance supply and demand in the job market. We will also strengthen comprehensive job market regulation to protect laborers' lawful rights and interests.

In summary, we have confidence in achieving our employment targets for the year and maintaining a stable job market.

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