BEIJING (Reuters) — China's urban registered unemployment rate was 4.07 per cent at the end of September, down slightly from 4.08 per cent at the end of the second quarter, the labour ministry said on Friday.
In the first nine months of this year, China added a total of 10.82 million jobs, according to a statement distributed at a news conference.
That is reassuring news for policymakers given signs of weakness in other parts of the economy, in particular a sagging real estate sector.
The flash PMI employment sub-index, although still indicating a contraction for the 11th straight month, posted a substantial improvement which analysts credited for the higher headline figure.
Any marked weakening in jobs would raise alarm bells for China's government, which regards healthy employment levels as a top policy priority and an important condition for social stability.
China aims to keep its registered urban unemployment rate below 4.6 per cent in 2014, unchanged from its target for 2013.
Many economists, however, believe the real number may be higher given difficulties in tracking the country's army of migrant workers.
The National Bureau of Statistics has been developing a new internal measure of urban unemployment, a survey-based figure that also measures migrant worker unemployment, and said in July it was preparing to publish the figure.
State media reported that this alternative figure stood at 5.05 per cent in June.