China to add more than 50 million new urban jobs in 2016 to 2020

Will also develop ‘industries with strong employment capacity’
||Last Updated: 02/07/2017
An employee stands outside an office of an online sales company at night at Galaxy Soho, in Beijing, April 18, 2016. Office workers sleeping on the job is a common sight in China, where a surplus of cheap labour can lead to downtime at work. REUTERS/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) — China is striving to create more than 50 million new jobs in urban areas over the five years to 2020, the cabinet said in an employment promotion plan on Monday.

It will also aim to hold the urban registered unemployment rate below five per cent in the same period, according to the document published on the central government's website.

"Opportunities and challenges in promoting employment co-exist," the cabinet said.

The government has said 13 million new urban jobs were created in 2016, beating its target of 10 million.

The official unemployment rate has been hovering just over four per cent in recent years, even as China's economic growth slowed to 6.7 per cent in 2016, its slowest in 26 years.

Under the banner of "supply-side" reform, Chinese leaders are trying to cut excess factory capacity in the steel and coal industries, but have tried to avoid an abrupt slowdown in the economy, for fear of mass job losses.

To create more jobs, the government will cultivate new growth drivers for the economy and develop "industries with strong employment capacity," the cabinet said.

The government will support small businesses, labour-intensive manufacturing industries and services, using tax incentives and financial policy tools such as differentiated reserve requirements, it added.

The government will also back new industries such as information technology, high-end equipment, new materials, biotech and new energy vehicles, the cabinet said.

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