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Economist: Tough Employment Situation This Year
Yao Jingyuan, chief economist and spokesperson with the National Bureau of Statistics, told a press conference in Beijing July 17 that China is facing large employment pressure.

At the press conference sponsored by the State Council Information Office, Yao provided three groups of data. First: laid-off workers of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) amounted to 3.7 million by June; registered city unemployment was nearly 8 million and the unemployment rate reached 4.1 percent by June. Second: the workforce in cities may increase 10 million this year. Third: only 50 percent of this year's college graduates had found jobs by June 20, less than last year's 65 percent.

Yao said the service sector absorbs most of the workforce, but SARS hit the sector heavily. China's government will carry out a series of measures to settle unemployment problems.

According to Yao, national unemployment has declined in recent years. For example, laid-off workers of SOEs reduced by 540,000 in the first six months. China's economy maintained quick development despite SARS and can create 8 million employment positions this year which is the aim put forward by Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan at the annual session of the National People's Congress.

Yao also explained that registered unemployment is used as a statistic. As some people without jobs do not register, real unemployment is above the registered number. He said the National Bureau of Statistics is researching this question to make the statistical situation more precise.

(China.org.cn by Feng Yikun, July 18, 2003)

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