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Beijing economy continues to soar
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Beijing's economy maintained its steady and relatively fast growth in the first three quarters of the year, driven by the upcoming Olympic Games and continued structural adjustments to industries, an official from the Beijing statistics bureau said yesterday.

The capital's gross domestic product was about 642 billion yuan (US$86 billion) in the first nine months, a year-on-year increase of 12.6 percent, higher than the national average of 11.5 percent.

"The economic effects of the forthcoming Olympic Games and continued efforts to adjust the industrial structure are beginning to bear fruit," the bureau's spokeswoman Yu Xiuqin said.

"The rapidly developing economy is characterized by a decreasing proportion of polluting and high energy consumption industries, as we have stepped up efforts to develop a green economy," Yu said.

For example, the output generated by petroleum processing and coking factories accounted for 1.6 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, of the industrial total, down 0.8 and 1.4 percentage points on the previous year, Yu said.

She said an energy saving project will include cutting the production of Shougang Steel Company by 4 million tons, relocating a chemical plant, closing the city's smaller power stations and a number of coal mines.

"The robust economy is also shown by the increased disposable income of urban and rural residents, and a rising employment rate," Yu said.

In the first three quarters, the per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents was 16,553 yuan (US$2,200) and 8,305 yuan, respectively, an increase of 14.4 percent and 10.5 percent.

Additionally, Beijing's labor authority said there was an unemployment rate of 1.84 percent in urban areas, down 0.25 percentage points year-on-year.

"Early this year we started a special job program for people from 'zero-employment' families and it has greatly increased the employment rate," Yu said.

More than 99 percent of such families have at least one member that has been employed, she said.

(China Daily October 26, 2007)

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