According to CAIJING Magazine, on November 1 the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security dispatched six research teams to the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and other major manufacturing centers to investigate the impact of the global financial crisis on the domestic employment situation.
The six research groups will investigate conditions in both labor-importing manufacturing areas and in labor-exporting provinces including Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Guangdong, and Jiangsu. They will continue their research until November 20.
One of the researchers said the authorities are very concerned by the employment situation. There have been rumors of falling exports, business failures, short-time working and migrant workers returning home for some time. The researchers will try to find out whether these are local phenomena or deeper and potentially long-lasting consequences of the global crisis. Detailed studies will be carried out both where export industries are located and in areas that export migrant workers.
On October 27, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security briefed the media on the employment situation in the first three quarters of 2008. Statistics show that the employment situation in the first three quarters of this year was almost the same as the corresponding period of last year.
Registered unemployment was 8.3 million in September, down 50,000 from last year; the registered unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, unchanged from the end of last year. The ministry said that a target of creating 10 million additional jobs was 94 percent completed in the first three quarters of the year and that laid-off workers were finding it easier to find new jobs.
But an expert said the final quarter figures will be the most important for estimating the effects of the crisis on China' economy. The unemployment rate will probably increase in the short term due to lack of orders, short-time working, and lack of operational funding.
Information from the Ministry of Education shows that a record 5.59 million college graduates entered the labor market in 2008, an increase of 640,000 over last year. Since around 700,000 of last year's graduates have not yet found jobs, more than 6 million graduates are currently looking for work. The government recently scrapped a policy that protected workers in state-owned enterprises in case of bankruptcy, and has been vigorously pursuing energy-reduction measures; neither of these moves will have a positive impact on employment.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has postponed a conference on labor and employment policy, which was originally scheduled for mid-November.
(China.org.cn by Jessica Zhang, November 4, 2008)