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Record Jobless Rate Predicted

The unemployment rate in South China's Guangdong Province is expected to hit an all-time high this year, said Bu Xinmin, director of the provincial statistical bureau, yesterday.

It is predicted the registered unemployment rate will reach 3 percent - 0.1 percentage point higher than last year - according to the provincial department of labor and social security.

The labor department told companies within the province not to hire new laborers from other provinces for one month after the Spring Festival in a bid to alleviate the pressure on the employment market here.

It is common, during this period, for many new laborers to swarm into Guangdong in search for jobs.

With more than 10 million people from outside willing to work in the province, local residents face a serious employment concern according to Bu.

Also, increasing numbers of farmers from the province flock to big cities - such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen - to find jobs, after Guangdong governmental officials cancelled the original barrier of residence registration between urban and rural areas last month.

"However, Guangdong still need many CEOs and managers from outside, including the Hong Kong Administrative Region," Bu noted, adding senior personnel communications between Guangdong and Hong Kong will be further strengthened this year.

"The problem is also due to the export decrease last year in some intensive-intensive industries, such as processing factories," Bu said.

He also noted some Sino-foreign joint ventures reduced their exports due to a slowing world economy, especially the United States.

Exports from Guangdong increased by 3.8 percent last year - lower than the country's average.

However, the gross export value of the province continued to top all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, making up 36 percent of the country's total.

While there were some difficulties, Guangdong Province's economy developed smoothly last year.

The gross domestic product reached 1.1 trillion yuan (US$130 billion) last year, up 9.5 percent compared with 2000. The increase rate is 2.2 percentage points higher than that of the country's average.

(China Daily January 17, 2002)

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