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Creating New Jobs Remains a Challenge

Entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) last December has brought "no immediate changes" to the country's human resources market.

But the latest statistics from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security indicate that the number of jobless in the country continues to be a vexing problem, with a registered urban unemployment rate of 3.6 percent at the end of last year.

The total number of registered unemployed in urban areas reached 6.81 million by year end, not including 5.15 million laid-off workers from state-owned enterprises and numerous rural surplus laborers estimated by some experts to account for 20 percent of the total rural population.

The country's accession to the WTO will do little to help relieve the country's unemployment pressure in the near future, said Wang Dongyan, a senior official with the ministry, on Wednesday.

"The pressure will be around for years," said Wang, who is in charge of the ministry's information center.

The total number of employment opportunities decreased by 118,000 during the fourth quarter of last year.

Only the service sector saw a 2 percent increase in job openings, from September to December last year.

The labor demand in the agricultural and industrial sectors dropped 0.5 and 1.2 percent respectively during the same period, said the ministry.

Though more job opportunities will emerge in the service sector and parts of the manufacturing industry in the coming years, the country's overall employment situation will change little in the coming three to five years, said Vice-Minister Liu Yongfu.

Laid-off workers from State-owned enterprises, urban unemployed and rural surplus laborers, will continue to make up the bulk of the country's job seekers in the coming years.

The country's WTO membership will have more impact on industries like banking, insurance, telecommunications, automobile manufacturing and petrochemicals, because of employers' higher educational requirements, said ministry officials.

The Chinese Government will try to relieve the country's urban unemployment of around 4.5 percent this year by creating more than 8 million jobs, according to the ministry.

The central government will employ various ways to create jobs for the unemployed, including offering free re-employment services and promoting community services such as housekeeping and milk delivery, said the ministry.

Wang also noted that governments at all levels will urge the country's foreign enterprises to hire more employees by offering them preferential policies.

The country's private businesses will also become a key channel for employment, according to Wang.

Meanwhile, the government will ensure the timely delivery of the pensions of retirees and subsidies for the unemployed, said the ministry.

Last year, the country delivered a total of 205.4 billion yuan (US$24.7 billion) in pensions, and financial assistance of 34.2 billion (US$4.1 billion) from the central government.

More than 104 million people around the country had benefited from unemployment insurance by the end of last year.

(21dnn.com February 7, 2002)

Study Lists Jobs Most in Demand
Jobless Rate to Be Kept at 4.5%
Government Endeavors to Create More Jobs
Township Jobs Will Increase
Competition in Job Market Heats up
WTO Accession Poses Job Cuts
Job Intermediary Services to Open
China's WTO Entry
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