China's employment has remained stable
New figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that China's employment market has remained stable, with the booming service sector contributing a larger share of employment compared to last year.
College graduates joins in local labor market on June 14th in Kunming, Yunnan. [Photo: VCG]
The latest figures from the statistics bureau show that at the end of last year, 776 million people in China were employed, accounting for more than half of the total population. Secondary industries accounted for 27.6 percent of employment, while the service industries accounted for 46 percent.
In terms of unemployment, China's surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent last year, well below the government's annual target of 5.5 percent. To put that in context, the country's urban unemployment rate reached 23.6 percent when the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.
Wang Jun, the chief economist with the Zhong Yuan Bank, said employment is the foundation of people's livelihood.
"Keeping people employed contributes not only to China's economic growth, but also to the global economy. Since the reform and opening up started, the country's employment structure has been constantly optimized and improved. Hundreds of millions of surplus rural laborers have moved into non-agricultural industries. Now, China has completed its initial industrialization and is advancing towards the market orientation of the tertiary and service sectors," said Wang Jun.
China's economy has accelerated over the past seven decades, with gross domestic product rising at an average annual rate of 8.1 percent.
China's GDP hit 90 trillion yuan, or about 13 trillion U.S. dollars, in 2018, accounting for 16 percent of the world's total. This posed a sharp contrast to the country's economy in 1952 when its GDP was only 67.9 billion yuan. Gross national income per person reached over 9,700 U.S. dollars in 2018, higher than the average level in middle-income countries.
Wang Jun said economic growth creates new employment opportunities.
"Past experience tells us that a percentage point of economic growth can create about 8 million or 9 million new jobs. But in recent years, we can still achieve the same result with a lower level of economic growth. This is principally because the quality of the economic growth is improving and the economic structure is being upgraded," said Wang Jun.
13 million new jobs have been created in Chinese cities each year over the past six years in a row. The service industry is absorbing a growing amount of the labor force, especially through small and medium-Sized enterprises in the private sector. The digital economy provided 191 million jobs last year, representing a quarter of total employment.
Chang Kai is with the School of Labor and Personnel at Renmin University.
"The e-commerce market is creating numerous new jobs in China. China is in a leading position in terms of Internet-related jobs. This new trend is having a positive effect on economic growth and employment," said Chang Kai.
Thanks to the country's sustained efforts to encourage mass entrepreneurship and innovation, newly registered enterprises surged 10 percent year on year, with 6.7 million new companies established throughout 2018.