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Unemployment rate down to 4 percent in first half
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China's registered urban and township unemployment rate stood at four percent in the first half, down 0.2 percentage point from the same period last year, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) said on Thursday.

A total of 8.35 million people were registered unemployed across the country's urban areas and townships in the first half, according to MHRSS.

Ministry spokesman Yin Chengji said the nation had created 6.4 million new jobs in the first half, accounting for 64 percent of the annual 10 million goal set by the ministry, and 2.82 million laid-off workers found new jobs in the first half, 56 percent of the annual goal of 5 million.

Yin said 788,000 people had found employment in the provinces of southwest Sichuan, and northwest Gansu and Shaanxi, which were worst affected by the May 12 earthquake, as of July 27.

The number included 146,000 employed outside the quake-stricken areas under the nation's cross-region employment program that had designated 19 provinces and the southern city Shenzhen in Guangdong Province as places to employ the jobless a chance from the three provinces.

According to conservative estimate, more than 700,000 people had lost their jobs due to the earthquakes in Sichuan province as of June 30.

Yin urged governments at all levels to make efforts to create new jobs.

(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2008)

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