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Official: Demand for workers high

By LI LEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-04-27 09:22

A job seeker browses employment information at a job fair in Shenzhen in November 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Restaurants, hotels and automakers struggled to find enough workers to serve dishes, clean guest rooms and man assembly lines in the first quarter of this year as China's consumer spending and factory production continue to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced economic slowdowns, a senior official said.

The nation's top 100 "most in-short-supply professions"-a quarterly ranking the ministry that began publishing two years ago as a reference for vocational training efforts-generated 1.66 million job openings in the first three months this year, a quarterly increase of about 17 percent, said Wu Liduo of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

In comparison, only slightly more than 600,000 people applied, despite an almost 25 percent quarterly increase in applicants, he added.

"The supply-demand relationship is still tight," Wu, who oversees vocational training at the ministry, said at a news conference in Beijing.

Wu noted that the increase in both the number of applicants and available jobs were a testimony to the improved vibrancy of the job market, and the progress was most visible in the manufacturing sector, especially the auto and chip industries.

Twenty-nine new professions were added to the ranking, and 20 of them-or 69 percent-were manufacturing jobs, Wu said.

Auto assembly workers, ranking ninth, made it into the top 10 for the first time. Meanwhile, autoworkers who reproduce used parts, make batteries and design electric circuits entered the list for the first time.

"The surge in demand has coincided with the recovery of industrial production in the first quarter and the growth of the manufacturing sector," he added.

The rankings for caregivers of seniors and infants both dropped in the first quarter, thanks partly to recent government-backed occupational training efforts, Wu explained.

However, the rankings for Chinese cuisine cooks, hotel room cleaners and restaurant servers-29th, 19th and second, respectively-have seen a marked increase because of the solid control over the pandemic on the Chinese mainland and rising consumer demand, Wu said.

"The changes are also a result of the pickup in domestic circulation," he said.

China added 2.97 million urban jobs in the first three months this year, a year-on-year increase of 680,000, ministry figures showed.

The surveyed jobless rate was 5.3 percent last month, 0.6 percentage point lower than that of last year, and lower than the 5.5 percent target set by authorities.

Zhang Ying, head of the ministry's job promotion department, said surveys have showed the job market is warming.

"The number of jobs (available online) increased 26 percent year-on-year, and more than 75 percent of businesses have a demand for more workers," she said at the event.

The progress came as China has worked to protect jobs and restore normalcy in the wake of the economic destruction caused by the pandemic, she noted.

The ministry said authorities held more than 30,000 job fairs, released listings for 20 million positions and helped 1.62 million rural migrants return to their jobs following the Chinese New Year celebration in February.

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