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Boost employment in 2009
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Amid waves of job cuts worldwide, China has embarked on active measures to minimize job cuts and has pledged to boost employment this year.

The financial crisis continues to hurt the fourth largest economy and pushed many enterprises to cut their headcounts.

The following provinces are among the many in the country that have striven to stabilize their job markets.

South China's Yangtze River Delta, a major manufacturing center, has been hit unexpectedly hard. Job vacancies in the manufacturing sector stood at 41.43 percent of the total in the eastern Zhejiang Province in the third quarter, a record low in recent years.

The same situation occurred to manufacturers in the eastern Jiangsu Province with job vacancies in the sector accounting for 50.15 percent of the total, down 0.94 percent over the same period last year, and down 4.16 percent from the second quarter.

To cushion the regions from the effects of the global crisis, the Yangtze Delta has set up an early warning system to conduct monitoring of the job situation. At present, six cities including Nanjing, Hangzhou and Ningbo are the trial areas.

The system is designed for regional labor and social security offices to collect employment information, such as the possible job cuts and the planned new recruits in the following week and the actual cuts.

Zhejiang Province will do this in 11 cities this year.

At the end of November, Zhejiang also cut back enterprises' payments of social security funds for employees to mitigate their burden.

Another focus of most cities in the region is to encourage people to start businesses. Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces pledge to kick in favorable measures including free skill training for laid-off workers.

Officials and experts said the region expects a tougher job picture in the first quarter of this year as the global financial turmoil continued to spread.

Shanghai has launched programs to provide graduates and migrant workers with subsidies for skill training. On Dec. 30, the first employment service base was set up in Shanghai for graduates to gain internship experiences.

The Shanghai government also encouraged business start-ups to increase jobs. The city pledged to limit the registered unemployment rate to below 4.5 percent.

Hong Kong posted its registered unemployment rate at 3.8 percent between September to November, up from 3.5 percent between August and October, an extra 4,600 jobless.

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said the current government work aimed at guaranteeing stability of job markets.

In early December last year, the Hong Kong government took a series of steps to create more than 60,000 posts in 2009. For example, the spending on infrastructure would be raised to about 40 billion Hong Kong Dollars, which would provide 55,000 jobs, 12,000 more than last year. The government would also add 7,700 public servant jobs.

The western Qinghai Province suffered a downturn in coal and steel industries.

To combat the impact, the province mapped out a policy to urge vocational training for employees from enterprises facing shutdown and troubles. The employment subsidy fund and the finance department will provide training subsidy at 1.5 yuan (0.22 U.S. dollars) per hour.

Pan Li, vice director of Qinghai's employment department, said the policy would be in force for a year. The government would offer aid to troubled enterprises and called for no job cuts during this difficult period.

Shaanxi Province will also offer such free training to laid-off workers. Its capital city Xi'an will create more than 10,000 community jobs in 2009.

The eastern Fujian Province has rolled out plans to help graduates from poor families who had difficulty in finding jobs. A service center for human resources in Fujian, and Fujian University of Technology have decided to jointly spend 120,000 yuan to aid those graduates. The university has signed with more than 30 companies to establish internship base.

(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2009)

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