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Shanghai's Jobless Rate Hits 3-year Low

Shanghai's unemployment rate hit a three-year low in July.

The Shanghai Municipal Labor and Social Security Bureau said the unemployed population was 277,000, the lowest since 2002. Many believe the dwindling trend will continue.

However, the bureau pointed out that finding new jobs is still a daunting challenge.

Males face a more difficult time finding work than women, statistics show.

In February, there were 307,000 unemployed. That number had been reduced by 30,000 by July while the average length of unemployment was shortened from 15.5 months to 13.3.

Males make up 56.1 percent of the unemployed while the percentage of newly unemployed men is much larger than that of the women.

Shen Zuhuan, director of the employment department of the bureau, explained that because of the booming of the tertiary industry in the city, the service sector demands more female workers, so it is easier for women to find jobs.

"Another thing worth mentioning is that most of the unemployed men are of middle age, low education level and have a single skill, so they are facing fiercer competition on the labor market," Shen said.

But Shen also said unemployed men showed a more active attitude than their female counterparts, and thus the local government will continue to work hard to help them find new jobs.

The officials of the labor bureau also pointed out that people above 45 years old take up 36 per cent, the largest proportion of the unemployed population.

Meanwhile, officials from the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said the employment rate of new university graduates matched last year's.

However, the major difference is that some majors which were previously seen as easy guarantees of employment, such as English, tourism and management, are now facing a downturn.

(China Daily August 31, 2004)

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