The urban unemployment rate rose for the first time since 2003, the South China Morning Post reported. The rate was 4.2% at the end of 2008, up from 4% in September, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) said. The MHRSS has a target unemployment rate of 4.6% for 2009 — the worst since 1980. There were 8.9 million people registered as unemployed at the end of December, but this figure does not include the country’s 220 million migrant workers and is therefore expected to be much higher. Based on a survey it conducted last year, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates that the rate would be 9.4% if migrant workers were included, though this figure is disputed by the MHRSS.
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