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In 9 Months Over 9 Mln Urban Chinese Secure Work
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In the first nine months of 2006 a total of 9.32 million urban Chinese found employment. This figure is well ahead of the 9 million target for the entire year, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security Thursday.

This is the first time in recent years that China has met its yearly target three months ahead of schedule. Government support and guidance were key factors in the achievement, said Zhou Tianyong, deputy director of the Research Office of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Approximately 3.92 million of those finding new jobs were laid-off workers and another 990,000 belong to the ‘40-50 group' used to describe men aged 50 or over and women above 40. The rest are graduates from vocational schools and institutions of higher learning, migrant rural laborers and various other groups.

The ministry said there were still 8.35 million urban residents on the dole. The official unemployment rate is 4.1 percent which is down 0.1 percent from the first half of the year. With an estimated 10 million urban Chinese joining the labor force each year and 14 million laid-off workers hunting for jobs the country faces significant employment pressure.

To encourage enterprises to employ laid-off workers the central government will provide 25.1 billion yuan (US$3.1 billion) of subsidies this year. This is 4.2 billion yuan more than 2005. China has made "a relatively high employment rate" a major goal in building a harmonious society by 2020.

A source with the Ministry said they'd now focus on improving re-employment especially in the less developed central and western areas and the old industrial bases where there are big pools of  laid off workers from bankrupt firms or enterprises which have closed.

The government will also implement policies aimed at encouraging college graduates to find jobs in the remote west and in grass-roots units or to start their own business.

Official data indicates more than 9 million urban Chinese secured work in each of the past few years but that the country's average 10 percent economic growth over the past two decades was no longer able to mop up surplus labor.

"The economic boom is no longer providing as much employment," said Mo Rong, deputy chief of the labor science research institute under the Ministry.

He said a lot of China's roaring investment failed to create many jobs. The country needed to develop the service sector and promote small and medium sized enterprises which could create more employment, said Mo.

(China.org.cn, Xinhua News Agency October 27, 2006)

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