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College students face tougher job picture
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The global financial chill is freezing the job market for Chinese college graduates, a think tank survey has found.

As of the end of this year, 1.5 million graduates are likely to have failed to find jobs, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) estimates, according to Tuesday's China Securities Journal.

Chen Guangjin, vice director of the CASS sociological research center, said the bleak state of the job market had three causes. One, the financial crisis was squeezing employment; two, there were more graduates every year and three, many 2007 graduates were still looking for work.

There were 4.95 million grads in 2007, and the number this year stood at 5.6 million. Among 2007 grads, there were 1.44 million still seeking jobs as of the end of last September.

Migrant workers were also being affected, Li Peilin, director at the CASS sociological research center, said.

Li said the financial crisis and China's slowing economic growth had forced 4 million migrant workers to return to their rural homes.

Chen said some companies had closed, further constricting employment possibilities. Some facilities, especially in the smokestack industries, had shut down because exports had fallen. Some had also been affected by natural disasters this year, such as prolonged snowstorms and the May 12 earthquake.

The country could see an ever tougher employment situation in 2009 as there will be 500,000 more new graduates than this year, or about 6.1 million in all, will seek jobs.

Analysts predicted economic growth will continue slowing, further cutting labor demand. Gross domestic product is likely to grow 9.5 percent this year and 8 percent in 2009.

Li noted there has also been some post-Olympics fall-out, in addition to the snowstorms and quake. The latter two had cost China more than 1 trillion yuan (146.03 billion U.S dollars).

Zhang Yansheng, head of the foreign economic research institute of the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planning body in China, said 8 percent economic growth might not even be achieved in 2008 because of the sharp deceleration in industrial production, a major engine driving China's growth.

Industrial output rose just 5.4 percent from a year earlier in November, well off the 8.2 percent pace in October.

(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2008)

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