People look for jobs at a career fair in Huai'an, Jiangsu province, on Saturday. More than 2,000 vacancies involving accounting, marketing and logistics were offered by local firms. (ZHANG ZHAOJIU/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Despite progress, problems with labor, unemployed grads are still concerns
Despite numerous headwinds encountered in 2022 caused by factors such as sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks and restrictions on travel, China's job market remained stable last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, and though some challenges remain, there are reasons for optimism.
In 2022, 12.06 million people found new jobs, surpassing the year's target of 11 million, the bureau said at a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
"We experienced great challenges in trying to stabilize the job market last year, as small and medium-sized companies faced financial hardships due to COVID-19.But we held firm on the bottom line of preventing massive unemployment," said Kang Yi, director of the NBS.
He said that the unemployment rate in urban areas peaked at 6.1 percent in April and remained relatively stable as a result of a series of supportive policies. In December, the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, falling by 0.2 of a percentage point from the previous month.
According to the NBS, the surveyed unemployment rate among young people age 16 to 24 also saw a decrease last month to 16.7 percent, down 0.4 of a percentage point from November.
The average unemployment rate across 31 major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, was 6.1 percent in December, 0.6 of a percentage point less than the previous month.
The NBS said that both the number of migrant workers and their incomes increased in 2022, rising by 3.11 million to 295.6 million workers, each earning a monthly average income of 4,615 yuan ($683), up 4.1 percent year-on-year.
However, the nation still faces the pressure of a large unemployed population, especially among new college graduates, and an imbalanced labor force.
"We expect a better employment landscape this year with the economic upturn and expansion of recruitment campaigns," said Kang.
He said companies will normalize their operations and open more vacancies to the public in the wake of the optimized COVID-19 control policies.
"The resumption of transportation and travel will boost recovery in the services industry such as in hotels, catering and tourism, which will help attract more job seekers. The continuously implemented employment-first policy provides a strong backup for the job seekers," he added.
Guo Sheng, CEO of recruitment platform Zhaopin, said that the job market will see a notable rebound after the Spring Festival holiday.
He said that the services industry will recover in the short term, and the high-tech sector will embrace bullish prospects in the long term with economic recovery.