The Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau yesterday promised to create at least 100,000 jobs, 30,000 more than the original plan and implement back-to-work programs in an attempt to curb the city's growing unemployment rate.
Close to 230,000 jobs have been created in the last two years, following the bureau's promise to create 300,000 positions in three years between 1999-2002, according to bureau director Zhu Junyi.
This, however, will not be enough to stop the rising rate of registered unemployment, experts say.
The bureau estimates this year's registered unemployment rate will be 4.8 percent, up 0.5 percent from last year.
According to bureau expectations, the rate will continue to rise for the next few years.
More than 250,000 city residents are currently registered as unemployed; half of them are under the age of 25.
"The rate will increase this year mainly because 500,000 farmers are likely to have their land bought by the government for the building of satellite towns," said Zhu. Farmers who lose their land will be entitled to an increase in social welfare benefits.
"If these farmers try unsuccessfully to find work in the city, they may be allowed to register as unemployment," said Zhu.
Zhu believes the disbandment of centers helping laid-offs from state-owned companies, to find work is also to blame for current unemployment problem.
The centers were first established in 1996 by industries, districts or companies and disbanded at the end of 2001 after they had fulfilled their role of directing the laid-offs into the job market from the closed down state-owned firms.
One million unemployed took advantage of the centers in five years. Half left either finding a work or if they could not, registering as unemployment benefits.
The other half accepted a lump-sum payment made by the government, their industry and previous employer.
"In addition to programs to help females over 40 and males over 50 to find jobs, we will create jobs for the city's poorest - determined by means testing," Zhu said.
Those eligible will receive a job if they accept a monthly wage of 500-600 yuan.
Twenty percent of those deemed the poorest have promised to accept these low-paid jobs. "We will also create placements for young unemployed people, in the hope that this experience will make it easier for them to get a job," Zhu said.
The bureau plans to select 50 companies well known for good management for initial placements next month.
The government will buy insurance for trainees including liability insurance, a wage and payments to the companies where the trainees are placed.
The bureau will also start a warning system monitoring the number of unemployed according to investigation instead of registration.
(eastday.com February 10, 2002)