New Job Registration System Expected to Free Labor Flow

The State Development Planning Commission announced Thursday that in the next five years, China will abolish policies limiting the movement of labor between urban and rural areas so as to increase employment.

According to a specific plan for population control, employment and social security, China is to reform the residence registration system and the social security system to facilitate the establishment of a unified labor market in both urban and rural areas in the relatively prosperous coastal provinces.

The State Development Planning Commission said that the rapid increase in labor has exacerbated the redundancy of labor supply, which in turn has affected people' s living standards and widened the gap between the rich and poor.

The special plan predicts that in the next five years, some 46. 5 million people will enter the labor force in cities. The pressure of unemployment will become even more severe as China accelerates industrial restructuring and the reform of state-owned enterprises before its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Meanwhile, the number of surplus workers in rural areas has already exceeded 150 million. The figure will increase by five million to six million every year in the next few years.

The SDPC said that China has yet to set up an employment system based on market competition. The employment policies are inconsistent between the urban and suburb areas and among different regions and government departments, leading to partition of the labor market.

The State Development Planning Commission said that the existing residence registration system and migration policy put excessive restraints on the flow of labor, hindering the distribution of labor according to market demands.

According to the special plan, China will establish an employment registration system, issuing a single social security number to every citizen who will have their own personal wage account and social security account.

The plan points out that China will develop an electronic information network of employment. Employment agencies around the country will hook on to the information network, with their service standardized and modernized, SDPC said.

At the same time, China will adopt flexible ways to increase employment, encouraging part-time jobs, flexible work hours, self-employment, and holidays with full pay.

The State Development Planning Commission said that the service industry, medium and small-sized businesses and non-governmental businesses are expected to play a major role in creating new jobs. The country will also explore the international job market.

The plan points out that China will implement strategies to urbanize and develop western areas so as to absorb surplus labor in rural areas. Meanwhile through nation-wide poverty elimination efforts and migration, China will offer new employment opportunities to farmers in backward, poverty-stricken areas.

The State Development Planning Commission predicts that in the next five years, China will be able to create 40 million new jobs in cities every year, barely enough to absorb the newly increased labor force.

(Xinhua News Agency 08/17/2001)

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