China to roll out measures to maintain stable employment

Burden on companies to be reduced: Report

China to roll out measures to maintain stable employment
The moon shines as workers prepare an ice sculpture ahead of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China, on Dec. 20, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) — China will roll out a series of measures to maintain stable employment this year, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday, citing the country's human resources ministry.

China is grappling with the impact of a slowing economy amid a damaging trade dispute with the United States, its largest trading partner, and sources have said it plans to set a lower economic growth target of six to 6.5 percent in 2019, compared with "around" 6.5 percent in 2018.

In order to ensure employment, the Chinese government will reduce the burden on companies, officials from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said, according to Xinhua, adding that research on plans to cut their social insurance premium rate would be accelerated.

"Enterprises with fewer or zero layoffs can take half of the previous year's unemployment insurance premium back," Xinhua quoted an unnamed senior ministry official as saying, reiterating a policy that was flagged by the State Council, China's cabinet, in December.

Xinhua said China's urban unemployment rate was 3.8 per cent by the end of 2018, with 13.61 million new jobs created in urban areas last year, up 100,000 from 2017.

In comments published on Saturday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said planned tax cuts targeting smaller companies would help support employment and economic stability.

"For 2019, China still faces large employment pressure, with more than 15 million newly-added job-seekers in urban areas, including a record number of 8.34 million college graduates expected," the human resources ministry official added.

College graduates, migrant rural workers and veterans should be given targeted assistance in finding jobs, the official said, adding that more skills training channels should be opened for the unemployed.

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