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2004 Urban Jobless Rate Drops

China's registered urban unemployment rate fell 0.1 percent to 4.2 percent in 2004, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

"This is the first decrease in the unemployment rate for many years," NBS director Li Deshui told a press conference Tuesday.

"However, it's difficult to say that China's unemployment rate will go on decreasing," he said.

Controlling the unemployment rate was one of the four targets of China's macro-economic control in 2004.

The sound growth of China's economy and efforts by governments at various levels had helped the drop in the unemployment rate last year, he said.

New employees in urban areas reached 9.8 million, 800,000 more than expected, according to NBS statistics.

In Guangzhou City, capital of Guangdong Province, the number of employed residents reached more than 3.08 million by the end of last year, up 11.2 percent from 2003.

Unemployment in Guangzhou dropped to 2.42 percent in 2004, down 0.28 percent from 2003 and at the lowest level for five years.

"It's still difficult to conclude that China's unemployment rate will continue to drop, because there are numerous uncertain factors in economic growth in China as well as the whole world, including the economic slowdown, technological improvement and population growth," he said

(CRI January 27, 2005)

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