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China – Urban unemployment reaches 4.1%

30 May 2013

China’s urban unemployment rate stood at 4.1% in 2012, unchanged from a year earlier, according to data from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. This showed that 767.04 million people were employed in China’s urban areas last year, seeing a rise of 2.84 million from the prior year.

Most were employed in the tertiary industry or commercial services industry which accounted for 36.1%, followed by the primary industry (33.6%) and secondary industry (30.3%).  In urban areas of China, around 12.66 million jobs were created last year. This represents an increase of 450,000 compared to 2011.

The country is keen to keep the registered urban unemployment rate within the 5% bracket in the next two years. But there have been numerous media reports of graduates facing a tighter job market this year. China’s Premier Li Keqiang earlier this month warned that the country is seeing an unprecedented challenge in employing a record number of university graduates.

“In the first few months of the year, as economic growth has slowed the employment trend has remained stable but employment pressures remain and the problem of employment for tertiary students is particularly prominent,” he said.

Although the labour market in China still outperforms many other countries in the world, 2013 is expected to be difficult for fresh graduates with about 7 million leaving university. The Education Ministry said it would offer more job fairs and online job-seeking services to tackle the issue. 

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