Zhang Jinan (second left), minister of human resources and social security, and other officials attend a news conference discussing China's achievements in Beijing on Thursday. (WANG JING/CHINA DAILY)
Accelerated expansion in service sector, government stimulus play role in growth
The Chinese job market has shown resilience, adding 9.84 million jobs in the first eight months of this year, an official said on Thursday, even as fears grew globally for an economic slowdown.
That growth accounts for 89 percent of China's target job gains for 2019, according to Zhang Jinan, minister of human resources and social security.
"Unemployment was also kept in check, hovering at 5.2 percent in August, lower than the preset 5.5 percent," he said, adding that the job market appeared balanced in the second quarter, with the offer-applicant ratio being 1.22.
China has seen accelerated expansion in the service sector over the last few years, creating huge demands for workers, which the minister said contributed to the sustained job gains.
Government stimulus also played a role, he said, referring to Beijing's efforts to bolster employment by cutting taxes for private businesses and offering subsidies to employers who refrain from reducing staff during hard times.
Zhang said the central government will continue to reduce business burdens and step up incentives for startups as the government works to bolster employment.
The government will also strengthen training for skilled workers, help match employers with jobseekers, aid the unemployed and ensure impoverished people find work, he said.
Figures provided by Zhang's office showed that reductions in social security fees that companies have to pay will add up to 300 billion yuan ($42 billion) by the end of this year, an effort that will greatly alleviate business burdens.
The ministry has arranged more than 40,000 job fairs for college graduates and migrant workers, mostly from rural areas. Beneficiaries of these fairs have exceeded 50 million, official data showed.
"New factors are springing up now and will in the future, which pose challenges to the job figures, but we're confident," he said.
Zhang was speaking at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing, discussing China's achievements in multiple sectors since 1949 to mark its upcoming 70th anniversary.
China has seen an expansion of the working population over the last few decades, reaching 780 million last year, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
There was also a hike in employment in the service sector. The ministry said the sector offered 56 percent of the jobs available last year, compared with only 9.1 percent in 1952.