Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang Thursday urged the country's labor department to find employment for people this year.
China is facing a daunting task to secure jobs for its workforce after more than 20 million migrant workers lost their jobs in the global financial crisis. To compound the problem, more than seven million college graduates will be looking for jobs this year.
"We must ensure a stable employment situation this year, as employment is related to people's livelihood and the harmony and stability of the society," Zhang said at a working conference of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
The country's urban unemployment rate increase 0.2 percentage points to 4.2 percent at the end of 2008, even though migrant workers are not included in that number.
Zhang asked the ministry to adopt more active policies to find employment for people.
Tax burdens of firms could be reduced, and preferential policies for social security coverage could be employed to help firms survive the crisis and keep jobs, Zhang said.
More subsidies should be offered to organize vocational training in order to get people reemployed, and training should be made more relevant to different jobs, he added.
The Vice Premier also said the government should step up building a social insurance system that covers both urban and rural residents, and continue to raise pensions for retired workers.
China created new jobs for 11.13 million people last year, 11 percent more than the target of 10 million.
The country also found jobs for five million laid-off workers and for 1.43 million who had difficulty in finding a job. The combined 6.43 million was again higher than the original target of five million.
(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2009)