Job-seekers again outstripped the number of available jobs in the third quarter, virtually matching the situation in the first half of the year.
Figures released by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security showed there were a total of 1.207 million positions available in 62 major cities, accounting for 75 percent of the job-seeking population.
This was a little better than the previous two seasons when the percentage dipped below 69 percent.
But analysts warned that many people still face great pressure of landing a job, particularly those without higher education or technical certificates.
Included among these are 8 million laid-off workers from state-owned enterprises. This is the group having the greatest difficulty in finding new work, said Wang Aiwen, an official with the ministry.
The government is considering offering them small finance deals and creating more jobs, in addition to the earlier measure of ensuring their basic life needs.
"China's labor market is still a growing market," Wang said, "Basic rules have been made to suit the market-oriented economy and entry to the World Trade Organization."
In the third quarter, the service sector offered the greatest number of job openings, according to the report.
Up to 71.3 percent of available posts were in the service sector, with 26.6 percent in industry and only 2.1 percent in agriculture.
The wholesale, retail and catering trade were seeking 374,602 workers -- the highest of any sector -- followed by the manufacturing industry and social services.
The service sector has been developing very fast since the reform and opening-up drive started in 1978.
According to the China Statistical Yearbook published last year, the output value of the service sector reached 2,703.58 billion yuan (US$325.73 billion) in 1999, almost 31.5 times that in 1978.
Statistics also show private and joint-stock enterprises need most workers. The first accounted for 32.2 percent of the total demand, with joint-stock enterprises at 21.6 percent.
Private and joint-stock enterprises are undoubtedly the major two channels easing the unemployment tension at present, according to analysis.
(China Daily November 22, 2001)