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8 Million Chinese Find Jobs in First Nine Months

An additional 8.12 million people found jobs in China in the first nine months of this year, Minister of Labor and Social Security Zheng Silin said Saturday.


The country created 6.5 million new jobs in the first nine months, said Zheng, when reporting to the fifth meeting of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature.


"It is very much possible to fulfill this year's goal of employment when the country is experiencing such favorable economic growth," Zheng said.


China plans to create eight million new jobs and help re-employ four million laid-off workers, of whom one million are 40 to 50 years old, to keep urban unemployment below 4.5 percent this year.


About 3.5 million laid-off workers had found jobs again by September, of whom 980,000 are aged between 40 and 50, he said.


According to the government, China's urban areas are expected to add 10 million new job-seekers and six million workers laid off from state-owned and collective enterprises this year with eight million already registered jobless, adding up to 24 million who need jobs.


Companies will be under tighter watch by the government when laying their employees off, Zheng said.


A company is not allowed to file bankruptcy until it puts forward a proper and satisfactory solution on how to place its employees and is forbidden to dismiss people without compensation in line with laws or to default on their salary, he said.


"Large state-owned enterprises are required to report to local government before they fire a large number of employees," he added.


Because of the outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in the first half of this year, China's service sector and manufacturing industry failed to recruit as many employees as usual.


Not all preferential policies for re-employment of laid-off workers, such as loans and tax cuts, were fully implemented, Zheng said.


The central government has sent 13 teams to make sure that the re-employment policies are carried out at the local level, he said.


Those who misuse the government fund for increasing employment will be punished, he added.


According to the State Administration of Taxation (SAT), 376, 000 laid-off workers have enjoyed preferential tax policies for re-employment so far and about two billion yuan (US$241.84 million) of taxes had been cut by September this year.


(Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2003)


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