China's registered urban unemployment is expected to increase to eight million this year from 6.81 million in 2001, according to Zhang Zuoji, minister of labor and social security.
The actual unemployment could top the registered number by 1-1. 5 percent, the minister said at the meeting of a group of Beijing deputies to the National People's Congress, the highest legislature of China, Friday.
The registered urban unemployment rate increased by 0.5 percent to stand at 3.6 percent in 2001 and is expected to rise to 4.5 percent this year.
In 2001, a total of 20 million people, including eight million who newly entered into the labor force and 5.15 million laid-off workers, were waiting for jobs.
In a few years to come, more loss-incurring enterprises are expected to be closed down or go bankrupt as China further promotes economic restructuring after it entered the World Trade Organization.
"In the next few years, the number of redundant employees and unemployed people will not decrease," said the minister.
(People's Daily March 9, 2002)