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September 10, 2009

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China on target in initiative for jobs

NEW employment positions filled in China's urban areas hit 7.57 million in the first eight months of this year, Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin said in Beijing yesterday.

The number accounted for 84 percent of the government's target of 9 million for the whole year, Yin said at a press conference held by the State Council, or Cabinet.

"The registered unemployment rate in urban areas is about 4.3 percent, which is a relatively low level," he said.

From January to August, 3.57 million laid-off workers in China found new jobs, accounting for 71 percent of the government's target of 5 million for the whole year.

The working population of China stood at 775 million in 2008, he said.

The employment of college graduates is always a major concern for the government.

Yin said 68 percent of 6.11 million new graduates from universities and colleges were employed by July 1. The employment ratio was roughly the same as in 2008.

Yin said it was more difficult for graduates to find jobs now, but the government was always considering solutions and would make greater efforts to help them locate employment.

"The government target is for most of the country's new graduates to find jobs by the end of this year, including students from poor families," he said.

When asked about the employment situation of China's rural migrant workers, Yin said the shortage of labor in parts of China's eastern and southeastern regions reflected recovery in the economy. But the overall employment situation was still severe.

With worries that an expanding income gap between urban and rural areas will lead to social problems, the government is making more efforts to curb the negative impact.

Hu Xiaoyi, vice minister of the human resources ministry, said efforts were being made to improve the social security system, including a rural pension program and new cooperative medicare system, in a bid to narrow the urban-rural gap.

A pilot rural pension program launched in China in August is one of the most recent moves.

Farmers aged over 60 in rural areas will receive a monthly state endowment as long as they join the program.


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