China Facing Serious Job Shortage

China's cities are facing serious employment problems with only 11 million new urban jobs expected to be created this year but 25 million people needing to find work, the government said Feb. 13. The National Development and Reform Commission, the government's main economic planning department, said the shortage of 14 million jobs was around one million more than last year.

Nationwide, around 17 million new job-seekers are expected to enter the labor market this year, while millions of others will be laid off, further fueling the need to create more jobs, it said. Sixty percent of those 17 million job-seekers will come from rural areas, who will be mainly looking for jobs in the cities. By the end of the year 4.13 million college graduates, 750,000 more than last year, will also be seeking jobs. The report said one of the reasons behind the rising unemployment pressure was a general economic overcapacity, especially as firms seek to streamline their operations.

Despite the excess of the 13 million new job-seekers last year, the registered urban unemployment rate officially held steady at 4.2% at the end of 2005. China's unemployment figures do not include up to 200 million "surplus" rural workers, many of whom seek jobs in the cities, Xinhua news agency said Tuesday. China maintains other job categories, like "laid off" or "workers awaiting employment," who also do not factor into official unemployment figures.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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