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SCIO briefing on China's economic performance in first half of 2020

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on July 16 in Beijing to brief the media on China's economic performance in the first half of 2020.

China.org.cnUpdated: July 17, 2020

China News Service:

The NBS released data on its surveyed urban unemployment rate for June. Does this truly reflect the current job market situation in China? As college graduates leave university, are they going to face bigger pressures in finding jobs? Thank you.

Liu Aihua:

Thank you for your question. According to the figures, in the first half of this year, the surveyed urban unemployment rate continued a downward trend. China has adopted some strong measures at various levels to stabilize employment and ensure people's well-being, and the employment-first policy is being fully implemented. These efforts have proved to be effective as the surveyed urban unemployment rate kept declining in recent months. The figure was 5.7% in June. The labor participation rate was also similar to last year's level, at only 0.5 percentage point lower than the same period last year. The proportion of furloughed employees, which people concern a lot, also declined to 0.8% in June, basically matching the figure last year. Even without the COVID-19 outbreak, there are also some people on furlough due to various reasons in daily life. Therefore, as we prioritize employment, the situation has made a positive turnaround in the first half of the year.

We can also see that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on the job market. In the first half of this year, the number of newly increased urban jobs was 1.73 million lower than the same period last year. Meanwhile, some major groups such as migrant workers have been impacted disproportionally. By the end of the second quarter, the number of rural migrant workers dropped 2.7% year on year, with a reduction of 4.96 million. The unemployment rate of college graduates also hit a record high compared to the same period in previous years due to a decline in demand and certain restrictions in job seeking and interviews caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The surveyed unemployment rate among those with a junior college or higher degree aged 20-24 (mostly new graduates) was 19.3% in June, up 2.1 percentage points compared with the previous month, and 3.9 percentage points higher than the same period last year. Therefore, as we see some positive changes in the employment situation, some major groups still face significant pressures in finding jobs. Our surveyed urban unemployment rate also reflects this trend.

Next, according to the government work report, we will fully implement the employment-first policy, and continue to work hard to stabilize and expand employment. First, we must implement policies to reduce taxes and fees, social security spending and rents to help businesses navigate difficulties in order to stabilize employment. Second, we should encourage market-based employment and solve the employment problem among college graduates through measures such as expanding enrollment in graduate schools. Third, we must provide greater assistance to job seekers, encourage employment in new business models and in flexible forms, and help rural residents seek jobs or start businesses in places close to their homes. Thank you.

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