SCIO press conference on national economic performance in H1 2023

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Red Star News:

How was the employment situation in the first half of the year? Will it be possible to achieve the annual target for new jobs? As it is currently graduation season, have there been improvements in the employment prospects for young people? Thank you.

Fu Linghui:

Thank you for your questions. Employment is a matter of concern to many people. This year, driven by the overall improvement of the Chinese economy, the job market has been generally improved. Specifically, as the economy sustains sound recovery and the policies for stable employment continue to take effect, the labor market is becoming more active and the overall employment situation is improving.

First, the scale of employment steadily expanded. In the first half of the year, 6.78 million new jobs were created in urban areas nationwide, an increase of 240,000 year on year. The labor force participation rate of the urban population aged 16 and above has steadily increased. In June, the number of employed people in urban areas increased significantly compared with the same period of the previous year. Among them, the number of people employed in industries such as wholesale and retail, accommodation and catering, and transportation increased significantly.

Second, the surveyed urban unemployment rate decreased. In the second quarter, the average surveyed urban unemployment rate was 5.2%, down 0.3 percentage point from the first quarter. In June, the surveyed urban unemployment rate was 5.2%, 0.3 percentage point lower than the same period last year. The unemployment rate for the main employment groups was at a relatively low level. In June, the unemployment rate for the urban labor force aged 25-59 was 4.1%, which is already lower than the level before COVID-19, and the basic employment situation remained stable.

Third, the overall employment situation for migrant workers improved. In June, the unemployment rate for migrant workers with agricultural household registration was 4.9%, which is at a relatively low level since the beginning of this year. We also saw that at the end of the second quarter, there were 187.05 million rural laborers working outside their hometowns, up 3.2% year on year. This indicates that with the economic recovery, the country's workforce has shown a greater willingness to enter the labor market and land jobs.

The main reasons for the overall improvement in employment are as follows. First, the economy is recovering. In the first half of the year, China's GDP increased 5.5% year on year, a significantly faster growth rate than last year. The expansion of the economy inevitably leads to an increase in market demand, which in turn leads to an increase in labor demand from enterprises and an overall improvement in employment. Second, the service sector is growing rapidly. As mentioned earlier, the service sector involves a variety of industries, hence providing a wide range of employment opportunities. Since the beginning of this year, contact-based service industries such as transportation, accommodation, catering and tourism have shown good recovery momentum, which has significantly boosted employment. Third, the policies for stable employment have taken effect. Since the beginning of this year, the CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to employment, and all localities and government departments have implemented the employment-first policy in a detailed and effective manner. We have implemented various measures to stabilize existing employment, expand job opportunities, improve the quality of employment, and ensure basic employment needs. We have provided stronger support for enterprises to stabilize employment, improved public employment services and enhanced vocational training. All these efforts have created favorable conditions for maintaining stable employment. In addition, as the country has fully resumed normal order in its social and economic activities, offline recruitment and job hunting are becoming more convenient, which is conducive to matching the employment supply and demand, and driving employment growth.

However, we must notice the pressure brought by a huge workforce and related structural issues, as well as the dual problems of young people facing difficulties finding a job and some industries facing difficulties hiring qualified workers. Therefore, we should continue intensifying our efforts to stabilize employment. Young people's employment is important not only to the growth and accomplishment of young people themselves, but also to the development and future of our country. The CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to youth employment, emphasizing that we must give greater priority to boosting employment and business startups of young people, especially college graduates. The executive meetings of the State Council have made important decisions and requirements for ensuring employment; relevant government departments have introduced a series of policies to promote the employment of college graduates and other young people; all localities are taking swift action to ensure that the relevant policies are implemented to the fullest extent and down to the last detail. In the next stage, the employment is expected to remain generally stable due to the continuous economic recovery, the growing labor demand and the effective policies to stabilize employment. As young graduates gradually enter the workforce during the graduation season, the youth unemployment rate is expected to gradually decline. Thank you.

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