Excessive worry over job market unwarranted – Opinion

Candidates view job opportunities at a job fair in Hefei, city of Anhui province, May 17, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Editor’s note: Unemployment is a major challenge for the economy, but the government has created tens of millions of jobs every year, improved people’s livelihoods and facilitated the sustainable development of the economy, writes a veteran journalist at China Daily.

There are about two dozen shops within 100 meters on either side of one of the gates to my apartment complex. These include three grocery stores, three barber shops, three beauty salons, two pharmacies, two tobacco/wine shops and a number of snack outlets.

But almost all stores have changed hands since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, with some of them changing hands two or three times during that period. And when a business closes, not only does the owner lose their livelihood, but employees lose their jobs as well.

The pandemic has hit China’s economy badly and increased the unemployment rate. However, the government has taken effective measures to ensure that all people of working age, particularly graduates, are in gainful employment.

At a meeting earlier this month, the State Council, China’s cabinet, decided to implement a series of new measures to create jobs and encourage the establishment of new businesses, with Premier Li Keqiang telling the meeting: “The current employment situation is generally stable, but it also raises concerns. Local governments must seriously take their due responsibilities and take some special measures.”

Among other things, the meeting decided to give companies job-creation subsidies for hiring college graduates, provide unemployment benefits and support the platform economy to increase employment. The State Council also decided to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which provide more than 80 percent of jobs in cities and towns. In particular, the meeting decided to extend the deadline for repayment of guaranteed start-up loans by one year if the borrower encounters financial difficulties and called on banks to offer more loans and loan extensions to companies.

Authorities have also asked state-funded incubators to provide free venues for startups to the best of their ability. For example, she has asked such bases to exempt or lower rents on government-funded properties and provide more subsidies to companies that promise not to lay off employees while the pandemic lasts.

The government support measures seem to be paying off, as most of the closed shops within 100 meters of my condominium reopened within a few weeks, albeit with new owners and sometimes a different shop.

As China’s GDP growth has slowed to 5-6 percent from double-digit a decade ago, improving people’s livelihoods by increasing employment has become the government’s top priority. And it has created about 65 million jobs in urban areas in the last five years, ensuring not only most college graduates – of whom more than 10 million enter the labor market each year – find a job, but at least one Member of the as have helped up to 6.5 million unemployed families to get employed.

While the impact of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have increased unemployment in many countries, China managed to keep its registered unemployment rate at a low 3.96 percent last year and the surveyed unemployment rate at 5.1 percent .

However, unemployment remains a major challenge due to the sporadic outbreaks of the novel coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns or strict prevention and control measures in various cities, amid severe economic policies of the United States and the global food and energy crises sparked by the Russia-Ukraine conflict Dealing blows to the Chinese and global economy.

Nonetheless, with sufficient reserves of pension and unemployment insurance funds and the strategic reserves yet to be tapped, as well as the implementation of new support measures, the Chinese government is confident of coping with any upcoming challenges.

Therefore, there is no reason to be unduly concerned about the employment situation in China, because stable growth is all about continued job creation, and the government is doing just that: creating enough jobs.

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