Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, the nation’s top employment official, said job seekers in China will face an uphill battle in the coming months and as many as 12 million may not find work this year even if the country hits its 8% growth target.
If it meets its growth target for this year, Yin Weimin said China will be able to provide openings for about half of its 24 million job hunters.
He said in a report carried in People’s Daily, "The shortfall between supply and demand in employment will become larger than last year due to the failure to create enough job opportunities."
He said the country is trying to meet the "very tough" challenge of finding enough jobs for workers at a time when the global financial crisis is biting deep into the Chinese economy and the employment rate within export-oriented enterprises is falling sharply.
Yin noted that China had hoped the service industry would play a larger role in creating employment, but that has not happened.
According to ministry statistics, 6.6 million people in urban areas found jobs between January and July, some 74% of the target of 9 million jobs during the period.
There was a slight increase in job-creation in the second quarter and the urban unemployment rate remained steady at 4.3%. (That is an acceptable figure in that it includes people moving jobs, not working because of family or health problems and so on. Mainly it is thought if the figure is kept under 5% it is containable and that under 4% is nearly impossible to achieve.)
The ministry hopes to keep the urban unemployment rate below 4.6%, which would still be the highest since 1980.
China Daily reported that Wang Dewen, an expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said creating enough jobs for the unemployed was about more than promoting economic growth.
He said, "The employment rate is a promise for social stability, which is the base for better economic development."