Ur­ban job­less rate re­flects sta­ble em­ploy­ment mar­ket

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By WANG YAN­FEI wangyan­fei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s sur­vey-based ur­ban un­em­ploy­ment rate, re­leased for the first time on Tues­day, stood within the tar­get range, re­flect­ing a rel­a­tively sta­ble job mar­ket amid eco­nomic re­cov­ery, data showed.

In March, the na­tional sur­veyed un­em­ploy­ment rate stood at 5.1 per­cent, which is slightly higher than the 5-per­cent level reg­is­tered in both Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Bureau of Statis­tics.

The data come af­ter the cen­tral gov­ern­ment set a tar­get for the in­di­ca­tor

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for the first time in the Gov­ern­ment Work Re­port pub­lished dur­ing the first ses­sion of the 13th Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress in March.

The goal is to keep the monthly rate be­low 5.5 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment re­port.

Un­like the reg­is­tered un­em­ploy­ment rate, the sur­veyed rate, cal­cu­lated based on a sam­ple of around 120,000 house­holds, takes into ac­count ru­ral mi­grant work­ers and those who have not yet been reg­is­tered as un­em­ployed at their lo­cal em­ploy­ment agency and hence were ex­cluded from the old in­di­ca­tors.

Prior to this month, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment used to mainly look at in­di­ca­tors in­clud­ing the reg­is­tered ur­ban un­em­ploy­ment rate and the new ur­ban em­ploy­ment rate.

Adding a new gauge re­flects that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has put strong em­pha­sis on the la­bor mar­ket as the na­tion steers to­ward high-qual­ity growth, said Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, in a note on Tues­day.

He said bring­ing China’s def­i­ni­tions of em­ploy­ment rate and un­em­ploy­ment rate to match with those of the In­ter­na­tional La­bor Or­ga­ni­za­tion makes it eas­ier to make com­par­isons across economies.

Lat­est ILO data showed that the world’s av­er­age un­em­ploy­ment rate was 5.7 per­cent.

The sur­vey-based job­less in­di­ca­tor will pro­vide more ac­cu­rate and timely in­for­ma­tion to bet­ter an­a­lyze China’s la­bor mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Zeng Xiangquan, an eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor with Ren­min Univer­sity of China in Bei­jing.

In the first quar­ter, 3.3 mil­lion new ur­ban jobs were cre­ated, in­clud­ing 1.54 mil­lion in March alone, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, the coun­try’s top eco­nomic reg­u­la­tor, on Tues­day.

Look­ing ahead, sound eco­nomic foun­da­tion is ex­pected to sta­bi­lize the healthy trend of the la­bor mar­ket, pro­vid­ing stronger mo­men­tum to growth as trade pro­tec­tion­ism and eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties rise, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion.

Zhao Ping, an ex­pert with the China Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of In­ter­na­tional Trade Academy, said she ex­pected con­sump­tion to con­tinue to play a vi­tal role in sup­port­ing growth.

China’s econ­omy grew 6.8 per­cent in the first quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to NBS data.

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