More jobs, unemployment steady

In an employment promotion plan earlier today, the State Council of China revealed that they are striving to generate more than 50 million new jobs in urban areas over the five years to 2020.

“Opportunities and challenges in promoting employment coexist,” the cabinet stated.

As the targeted period begins in 2016, the Chinese government has already generated 13 million new urban jobs last year, beating its goal of 10 million jobs for the first year.

Besides the creation of additional jobs, the cabinet also revealed in a published document on the central government’s website that it targets to hold the urban registered unemployment rate below 5% in the same duration.

The official unemployment rate has been lingering just a meager 4% in recent years, even as the country’s economic growth slackened to 6.7% in 2016, the slowest pace in 26 years.


China’s “supply-side” reform

With supply-side reform, Chinese leaders are attempting to slash excess factory capacity in the steel and coal industries, but have tried to prevent a sudden slowdown in the economy in fear that it may cause mass job losses.

To add more jobs, the government will support new growth drivers for the economy and cultivate industries which possess strong employment capacity. Moreover, it will also promote small businesses, labor-intensive manufacturing industries and services, utilizing tax incentives and financial policy tools, such as differentiated reserve requirements.

The cabinet also stated that China will back new industries such as information technology, high-end equipment, new materials, biotech and new energy vehicles.

Welcoming international companies

Elsewhere, a statement on the cabinet website also expressed that it welcomes foreign firms to shift production to its economic development zones, which have been urged to actively seek foreign investment.

The statement comes as President Donald Trump encourages US companies to boost production at home to improve job opportunities for American citizens.

According to the cabinet, China's development zones, established during its reform and opening-up period over three decades ago, have been a vital part of the nation's industrialization, urbanization and internationalization.

International companies running their operations within these economic development zones will be able to raise money from overseas through bonds and loans. The cabinet also said special customs businesses will be rolled out to help inviting investors from overseas.


In a separate statement today, the central planning agency said China should reform its development zones as it currently faces a surplus of poorly designed ones that have strived in fruitless ways and failed to innovate.

In January, the cabinet issued new measures to further open the country to foreign investment, as the world’s second biggest economy struggled with a slowdown in growth.

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