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Unemployment to Remain at 4.6%
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China will contain the registered unemployment rate in urban areas under 4.6 percent this year, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MOLSS) said yesterday in Beijing.

"In urban areas and townships, about 9 million people are expected to find jobs. Of the 5 million laid-off workers from State-owned enterprises, 1 million of those above the age of 40 will get the opportunity to return to work," said Hu Xiaoyi, spokesman of MOLSS.

"Without effective policies, these goals will be hard to meet," said Mo Rong, deputy-director of the Institute for Labour Studies under MOLSS.

An important document was released in November 2005 that focused on improving the employment and re-employment rate.

"Besides policy support, market mechanisms will also play an important role," said Hu. "Self-employed workers will also get preferential policies," Hu added.

In 2005, the registered unemployment rate in urban areas was 4.2 percent, the same as in 2004.

In 2005, nearly 700 billion yuan (US$87.5 billion) went into the funds for pensions, unemployment, medical treatment, workplace injuries and maternity insurance.

It is expected that in the next five years, the number of people paying pension insurance will increase by more than 10 million each year, or 6 percent. By the end of 2010, the number of Chinese paying pension insurance will reach 220 million.

(China Daily January 20, 2006)

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