According to data from China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the job market in China has been steadily improving in the first quarter of this year, with a strong labor demand and a robust economic recovery. The urban unemployment rate in March dropped to 5.3%, down from 5.6% in February and lower than 5.8% a year ago. Furthermore, the number of new jobs created in the first three months was 2.97 million, up by 120,000 compared to the same period last year.
Chen Yongjia, an official of the ministry, stated that the employment situation has gradually improved and largely remained stable due to the smooth shift in COVID-19 response and effective policies to stabilize the economy. China aims to add 12 million jobs in cities this year and keep its jobless rate at around 5.5%, and Chen expressed optimism in achieving these targets, citing favorable conditions from an upward economy to the government’s employment-first policies.
The Chinese economy has had a good start in 2023, with a year-on-year growth of 4.5% in the first quarter, compared to 2.9% in the fourth quarter of last year and 3% for the entire 2022. As a result of the economic rebound, Chinese enterprises have become more confident in increasing investment and production, leading to an uptick in labor demand.
China’s manufacturing activity has maintained expansion for three consecutive months by March, according to the latest purchasing managers’ index published by the National Bureau of Statistics. Market confidence has also improved remarkably, with optimism shared by all surveyed industries.
To further stabilize employment, the Chinese government has announced more assistance for college graduates, migrant workers, unemployed people, and those having difficulties finding a job. The government has also pledged to take pragmatic measures to stabilize employment in manufacturing and foreign trade enterprises and improve the quality of vocational education and skills training in a market-oriented way.
According to Li Chang’an, a researcher with the University of International Business and Economics, the new measures demonstrate the government’s great concern for people’s livelihood and strong determination to prop up economic growth. While the manufacturing sector will continue to serve as a major employer and trade companies will be prompted to offer more high-quality jobs, the intensified professional training will create more skillful workers and help tackle structural problems in the job market.