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Boosting employment of youth a pressing challenge to tackle

China Daily | Updated: 2022-06-22 07:25

Candidates look at employment opportunities at a job fair in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Liu Jianhua/For China Daily]

China's surveyed urban unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in May, down 0.2 percentage points from April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, indicating that a series of measures taken by the authorities have begun to bear fruit. However, the negative impact of the pandemic on employment has not been completely eliminated, and all parties should continue to work with a sense of urgency to refine and implement the various policy measures and foster new growth areas.

The Government Work Report in March set the goal of creating over 11 million new urban jobs this year, and 5.29 million new jobs were created in the first five months of the year. That means there remains great employment pressure, given that there are nearly 10 million registered unemployed urban workers.

The authorities should particularly pay attention to the high unemployment rate among the young. Because of the pandemic, enterprises are facing difficulties in production, weakening their ability to create jobs. At the same time, the young tend to seek jobs with greater stability, exacerbating the contradiction between job supply and demand. For example, despite a general decline in the unemployment rate, the unemployment rate among people aged 16 to 24 was 18.4 percent in May, up 0.2 percentage points from April. Add to that the 10.76 million college students who will graduate this year, and the country's employment pressure will get worse.

The key to solving the employment problem lies in providing the young more suitable jobs. If China effectively protects its 150 million market entities, it can stabilize employment and maintain its economic resilience. To this end, the country should promptly implement policy measures such as providing tax rebates, tax and fee cuts, delaying enterprises' payment of social insurance premiums, ensuring unblocked logistics and promoting resumption of work and production. It should give full play to the supporting role of fiscal and monetary policies in protecting labor-intensive industries and in particular should help small, medium and micro-sized businesses ease their temporary difficulties, enhance their confidence and boost their capacity to offer jobs.

China should formulate and implement macro policies and micro measures in a systematic and all-round way to promote a virtuous cycle of economic growth and employment. It must also create more high-quality jobs for young people in the digital economy, smart manufacturing, new urbanization and rural revitalization, and promote a more balanced distribution of labor forces.

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