* Unemployment rate falls to 3.95 pct by end-Sept, lowest in
* 10.97 mln new jobs created in China from Jan-Sept -
* Jobs, social security still face challenges - labour
(Adds further comment from labour minister)
BEIJING, Oct 22 (Reuters) - China's unemployment rate has
hit its lowest point in multiple years at 3.95 percent by the
end of September, but employment still face challenges as the
economy pushes ahead with structural reforms, China's labour
ministry said on Sunday.
The ministry of human resources and social security said in
a statement that 10.97 million new jobs had been created in
China from January to September this year, a growth of 300,000
compared with the previous year.
The figure represents having essentially fulfilled the
ministry's year-end target, the ministry said in a pre-prepared
statement given to reporters.
Despite being ahead of schedule, Yin Weimin, head of the
ministry, told reporters that "raising the capacity to employ
workers overall still faces large pressures."
"We need to create 15 million jobs per year," Yin said,
singling out China's more than 8 million new university
graduates that enter the job market each year as one group in
need of additional employment.
Yin also said the low unemployment rate in the face of an
overall slowdown in the economy was largely due to the new
internet economy and entrepreneurship, adding that the ministry
would actively support startups to help them "thrive".
From 2015 to 2020 every one percent increase in GDP is
expected to equal roughly 1.8 million new jobs, Yin said.
Premier Li Keqiang said in March that China added 13.14
million new urban jobs in 2016 and aims to add another 11
million this year while keeping the registered unemployment rate
below 4.5 percent.
The labour ministry's announcement was made as part of a
once-ever-five-years congress of the ruling Communist Party,
which opened last Wednesday and runs until Tuesday.
At the congress, the Party sets broad policy directions and
reshuffles top leaders. As China's economy slows, Beijing has
made increasing efforts to stave off mass unemployment that may
spark social unrest.
China's official unemployment rate has remained generally
stable as economic growth has dipped to a 26-year low and the
government forges ahead with ambitious plans to cut back on
Many analysts say, however, that the government figure is an
unreliable indicator of national employment conditions as it
measures only employment in urban areas and also doesn't take
into account the millions of migrant workers that form the
bedrock of China's labour force.
On an annual basis, the official unemployment rate was last
below 4 percent in 2001, when it was 3.6 percent, according to
data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The rate ended 2016
at 4.02 percent after not budging from 4.1 percent from
The government has said that some sectors, especially those
targeted by capacity cuts, such as coal and steel, still show
signs of unresolved employment challenges.
The ministry of human resources in April said that China
would need to resettle about half a million workers that lose
jobs in the coal and steel sectors this year and will speed up
development of a "black list" system for firms with wage
(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Christian Shepherd, Additional
reporting by Meng Meng; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
First Published: 2017-10-22 04:15:53
Updated 2017-10-22 06:45:59
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