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Official: 2004 Unemployment Under 4.7 Percent

Zheng Silin, minister of labor and social security, declared that the Chinese government will cut back the registered urban unemployment rate to 4.7 percent next year, up by 0.2 percent on this year.


From 1999 to 2000, the urban unemployment rate stayed at 3.1 percent, but reached 3.6 percent in 2001 and 4 percent 2002. Earlier this year, the Chinese government planned to control that number to under 4.5 percent.


Zheng said at a national working conference on labor and social security that the pre-set goal of 2003, which aimed to create 8 million jobs and reemploy 4 million people, has been accomplished.


But the situation remains severe, he said, especially in reemployment and social security. And in order to balance labor relations and maintain the legal rights of laborers, more should be done next year.


As for the work of 2004, the government plans to create 9 million jobs, and help 5 million laid-off workers be reemployed, among whom, 1 million have currently great difficulty in surviving without work. The registered urban unemployment rate will be controlled at less than 4.7 percent.


In order to curb the unemployment rate and achieve this new goal, it is necessary to focus on generating new posts, and match employment initiatives with economic development. As for reemployment, the government will tackle various difficulties and implement a reemployment policy in a down-to-earth way and the work will be more specialized, professional and socialized. There will be greater investment in work and more efficient use of spending on work, Zheng said.


Some experts expressed that, on the one hand, the restructuring of state-owned enterprises may unavoidably produce unemployment, and on the other, a long-term labor surplus doomed by existing conditions in modern China. Therefore, employment pressure can hardly be alleviated in such a short period and will inevitably be a great challenge to the Chinese government.


(China.org.cn by Li Liangdu and Daragh Moller, December 26, 2003)

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