Xi issues call to arms: China must cultivate new job sources, quell ‘chaos’


“Employment is the most basic livelihood of the people, and it is related to … the healthy development of the economy and society, and the long-term stability of the country,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

The comments came after the president held a meeting with business leaders last week, demonstrating authorities’ determination to deepen reforms and boost growth – topics widely expected to be discussed during the third plenum.

“The course of high-quality development should be a process that spawns more, better jobs, and that development should better drive employment,” Xi said.

Xi was speaking after a job-market lecture by Mo Rong, head of the Chinese Academy of Labour and Social Security governmental think tank, for the primary decision-making body.

Mo’s address came at a sensitive time, in the lead-up to the graduation season, and as many Chinese businesses, particularly privately run operations, are laying off staff to cut costs or optimise corporate operations.

Lian Ping, director general of the China Chief Economists Forum, said: “There’s no doubt about the importance of employment … Without employment, there will be no income. Not to mention promoting consumption, which can only be contracted.”

Ultimately, however, the key to stabilising the job market lies in boosting business vitality, Lian said, noting that once they are energised, they will add jobs.

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‘Let it rot’: surviving China’s high unemployment and cost of living

‘Let it rot’: surviving China’s high unemployment and cost of living

China’s private sector, which has been struggling to get back on sound footing since the pandemic, employs more than 80 per cent of the urban workforce.

A record high 11.79 million university students will graduate this summer, and many are looking down the barrel of an already tight job market.

The president encouraged China’s university graduates to seek employment in grass-root organisations, rural areas and small businesses.

He also called for a change of mindset, as well as education and guidance, to cultivate “correct views of employment” so that a world of employment opportunities can be opened up with new concepts underpinning career selections.

“We need to conduct an in-depth analysis on why there are labour gaps in some industries,” he said. “We can start from solving the problem of a ‘lack of workers in some positions’, and then move on to the issue of ‘some people have no work’.”

We must effectively deal with employment discrimination, defaults of wages and social security contribution, illegal lay-offs and other chaosPresident Xi Jinping

Fu Weigang, with the Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law, said the timing of the president’s address conveys a message of urgency ahead of university graduations. And Fu noted that, since 80 per cent of jobs are created by private firms, Beijing needs to look at ways to reduce employment costs for private businesses.

“Beijing can lower social security costs and other related fees that an employer needs to pay when hiring staff. As, in key cities such as Shanghai, it has become more and more expensive to hire people – to the point that some business owners may choose to cut hirings,” Fu said.

The president also ordered that supervision of the labour market be stepped up.

“We must effectively deal with employment discrimination, defaults of wages and social security contribution, illegal lay-offs and other chaos,” he added.

The jobless rate for the 16-24 age group stood at 14.7 per cent last month, down from 15.3 per cent a month earlier but much higher than the surveyed national unemployment average of 5 per cent, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

China created 4.36 million new urban positions in the first four months of this year, up 2.8 per cent in the same period a year prior. Beijing’s full-year, job-creation target stayed unchanged at 12 million.



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