Urban job market stable in first half of year

The domestic job market was stable in the first half of this year thanks to the robust economic recovery and the State-level employment-first policy, but some key groups such as college graduates still face difficulties landing jobs.

Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on July 15 showed that the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas averaged 5.2 percent in the first six months of the year, 0.6 of a percentage point lower than in the same period last year. It was also lower than the annual target of 5.5 percent set by the central government in March.

The bureau said that about 6.98 million jobs were created in urban areas in the first six months of the year-63.5 percent of the annual target of about 11 million.

NBS spokeswoman Liu Aihua told a news conference in Beijing that the job market remained stable in the first half of the year thanks to a series of supporting policies implemented by the central government.

“The surveyed unemployment rate saw a pullback in the past six months,” she said. “For example, the unemployment rate of the main working group-whose age is between 25 and 59-was reduced to 4.2 percent in June, falling by 1 percentage point year-on-year.”

She said the employment situation, however, was still witnessing structural imbalances, which added to difficulties as a large number of college graduates started to enter the job market last month.

“With the graduation season in June, the job market has faced increasing pressure as more college graduates started to look for jobs,” Liu said. “The unemployment rate of the group will see remarkable growth.

“In June, the surveyed unemployment rate of young people-aged between 16 and 24-was 15.4 percent, a rise of 1.6 percentage points from May and pulling even with that in June last year.”

Zhaopin, an online recruitment agency, said in a recent report that young people, especially college graduates, are facing more difficulties landing jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unbalanced market demand.

For example, the report said that 67.8 percent of college students studying engineering that it surveyed had received offers from companies, topping the list, while only 54 percent of language students had found jobs.

Liu said the record number of college graduates this year-9.09 million-did put pressure on the job market, requiring stronger support from the government to shore up the stability of employment.

On July 12, Premier Li Keqiang told a meeting that the government should make efforts to let small and medium-sized enterprises grow into a main force promoting employment. The government should also expand the number of channels available for key groups such as college graduates and migrant workers by developing flexible employment.

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