By Li Jie
A total of 5.64 million new urban jobs were created by China in the first half of 2020, achieving 63 percent of the annual target, and the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.7 percent in June, said the country’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) during a press conference held on July 21.
As China steadily advances its work resumption and implements measures to stabilize employment, a rising demand is seen in the labor market and employment is gradually getting back to stability.
The country has recruited 554,000 employees for over 10,000 key enterprises, and sent more than 6 million migrant workers back to work by chartered flights, trains and buses. The MOHRSS figures also indicated that the registered unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 3.84 percent, and the market demand turned from a drastic decline when COVID-19 firstly broke out to positive growth.
“The employment went through a low-to-stable progress in the first half of the year,” said Zhang Ying, an official with the MOHRSS. The gradual recovery of employment came from the effective COVID-19 response, orderly work resumption, gradual pickup of economy and the targeted policies launched by the MOHRSS, Zhang introduced.
A series of policies to stabilize employment were rolled out in the January-June period during which insurance premiums worth 63.6 billion yuan were returned to over 4.34 million enterprises to help them sustain stable payrolls, benefiting 100 million employees. Besides, 40.5 billion yuan worth of employment subsidies were also handed out.
China has launched comprehensive online recruitment services since the beginning of this year, including an online recruitment activity carried out by the MOHRSS in which the ministry released information of 27.61 million jobs and received nearly 20 million resumes. The ministry also launched a recruitment campaign for the private sector, and more than 2 million pieces of job information have been released.
By taking a series of measures, China ensured the employment of impoverished migrant workers. As of the end of June, the number of impoverished rural workers finding jobs in urban areas had reached 28.3 million, outnumbering the total from last year.
The reduction and exemption of corporate social insurance premiums are an important measure taken to counter the impacts from COVID-19. As of the end of June, employers saw a decline of 576.9 billion yuan in insurance payments related to old-age, unemployment and work-related injuries, and payments worth 43.1 billion yuan were postponed over the period
In June, relevant departments extended the implementation of the policy to reduce and exempt corporate social insurance premiums. According to Nie Mingjuan, head of the pension and insurance office at the MOHRSS, the policy will remain valid till the end of the year, and the total premium reduction is expected to reach 1.6 trillion yuan.
“The unprecedented intensity and scale will help lift enterprises out of adversity, and stabilize and expand employment,” Nie said.
The proportion of enterprise workers basic pension funds under central government allocation was raised to 4 percent this year. A total of 740 billion yuan was allocated by the central government, and the inter-provincial allocation stood at 170 billion yuan. As of mid-June, the second-quarter fund had all been allocated, which offered firm support for provinces with difficulties to pay the basic pension.
On July 21, the MOHRSS issued a ranking of the top 100 most wanted jobs in the second quarter, which suggested a larger short labor supply in the manufacturing sector, especially metal heat treating, foundrymen, fitters and riveters.
It is reported that the MOHRSS will hold the first national skill contest this year, and make it a biennial event. The contest has the same competitions with the WorldSkills, and also adopts those closely related to economic and social development, as well as people’s lives, covering manufacturing, information communication, construction, transportation and life services.
“The high-level skill contest helps promote skill training, and is estimated to propel nearly a million people to participate in provincial and municipal contests,” said Zhang Lixin, director of the ministry’s Department of Vocational Capacity Building. These measures will all improve the quality of the workforce, and offer support for economic restructuring and high-quality development, he added.
Zhang introduced that China has a workforce of nearly 800 million people, including 200 million technical workers. They are an important foundation for China’s manufacturing and creation, playing an important role in promoting high-quality economic development. The national skill contest will spur the enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity of technical workers, and play a leading and guiding role for building a workforce that is knowledgeable, skillful and innovative.