Zhu Xuelian, a laid-off textile worker,
has now joined the Hualian Supermarket
and is a deputy manager of this shop.




Since the founding of New China, the number of people employed in China has been growing rapidly; especially in the past 21 years, thanks to the adoption of the policy of reform and opening to the outside world. The employment scale has been constantly enlarged, employment channels have been widened daily, the mobility of the work force has been speeded up, and the employment structure has been optimized. At the end of 1999, 705.86 million people were working in China, or an increase of 525.04 million over 1949, and 304.34 million over 1978. The number of employed people in cities and towns grew more rapidly. In 1949, only 15.33 million urban people were employed, and in 1978, only 95.14 million. But in 1999, the number of urban employed people rose to 210.14 million, of whom 39.4 million were self-employed.

In the past 21 years, along with the readjustment of the economic and industrial structures, corresponding changes have taken place in the employment structure. Tertiary industry has grown rapidly. Between 1979 and 1998, the number of the people engaged in tertiary industry increased by 3.8 times, with an average annual growth rate of 6.9 percent, exceeding that for primary industry by 18 percent and that for  secondary industry by 4.4 percent. The employees in tertiary industry have become the main force for promoting employment growth. Fundamental changes have taken place in the people’s outlook on employment. In 1978, China did not have stock, private, or foreign-, Hong Kong-, Macao- or Taiwan-invested economies; and there were only 150,000 people engaged in the private economy. At the end of 1999, a total of 21 million people were engaged in these economic sectors.

China has an enormous population, so adequate employment is a serious problem. In an effort to solve this problem, beginning in 1993 the Chinese government has allowed the market to function as the basic lever for the allocation of labor, a labor services market policy has been implemented, greater avenues to employment have been opened, and a new setup has been established, characterized by state macro-control, autonomy for enterprises in recruiting workers, autonomy for individuals in seeking employment, market regulation of supply and demand and the nationwide provision of social services. Labor and skill markets have been established all over the country. In recent years, due to the readjustment of the industrial structure, workers laid off by some state-owned enterprises have been reemployed. The Chinese government has implemented a large-scale reemployment project, and some enterprises have founded reemployment centers to train laid-off workers for new jobs. In 1999, the reemployment project made important achievements: Through various channels, 4.92 million laid-off staff and workers were reemployed, with the unemployment rate reduced to 3.1 percent.

Copyright or other proprietary statement goes here.
For problems or questions regarding this web contact [].
Last updated: 2000-07-13.