The number of state-owned enterprise (SOE) workers registered as laid off fell by 1.5 million to 2.6 million in 2003, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security said Monday.
A total of 8.5 million new jobs were created nationwide last year while 4.4 million unemployed found new jobs, the ministry said.
The number of unemployed people registered in the urban areas totaled 8 million by the end of 2003, an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, up 0.3 percentage points over the previous year.
The ministry has also set a target of five million new jobs this year and an urban unemployment rate of around 4.7 percent.
By the end of 2003, about 103.73 million Chinese had entered unemployment insurance, up 1.91 million year on year, the ministry said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2004)