China Created 12 Million Jobs in 2007

Helped push unemployment rate to 4%

China's stunning economic growth created 12 million new jobs in 2007 -- more than the population of Greece and easily exceeding a government target, state press reported on Jan. 23.

The increase helped shave urban unemployment to four percent, down 0.1 percentage point, but employment pressures remain as 10 million more people enter the workforce in the world's most populous nation annually, the China Daily quoted a top official as saying. Job growth in China has brought unemployment down from a high of around 6% in the late 1990s, when economic restructuring eliminated millions of jobs, it said.

The job growth surpassed an official target of nine million set at the beginning of last year, Zhai Yanli, vice-minister of Labor and Social Security, said. By comparison, just 1.3 million jobs were created in the U.S., according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report did not specify whether the 2007 urban jobless rate included the massive floating population of migrant workers seeking work in the cities. The number of such migrants is believed to be around 150 million. But China will face a challenge keeping unemployment low due to the new job-seekers and a continued move away from labor-intensive industries, it said.

China is expected to announce the economy grew around 11.5% in 2007, when official figures are released later this week, which experts say would be the highest in 13 years.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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