Employment strong in 2023

2024-03-29 10:47:00China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's employment in urban areas grew last year, with the nation's economy and job market returning to normal after the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said.

The latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the number of hired workers in urban areas reached 470.3 million by the end of last year, accounting for 63.5 percent of the nation's total hired workers. The number grew by 11.01 million from 2022, and 2.59 million from 2021.

Du Yang, director of the population and labor economy institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the number of hired workers in urban areas declined in 2022 due to COVID-19 — the first such decline since the launch of reform and opening-up in the late 1970s — with the number dropping by 8.42 million from 2021.

"The number of urban hired workers bounced back and saw growth in 2023, though the working age population — 16 to 59 years old — continued to decrease," he said.

"The growth indicates that China has stepped out of the epidemic shadow and the domestic job market has returned to normal."

Du added that increasing employment in urban areas is important in improving people's livelihoods, especially those on low or medium incomes like migrant workers.

Last year, the number of migrants working outside their hometowns reached 176.5 million, up 2.7 percent year-on-year and exceeding the level in 2019, Du said.

He said the growth in employment indicated more efficient use of labor, which could drive future economic development, and the 11.01 million new workers in urban areas last year could also help optimize the nation's income distribution.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said that it channeled over 300 billion yuan ($41.5 billion) into stabilizing the job market last year, and it will continue to make efforts to produce new growth points in sectors such as the digital and green economies to make more jobs available to average people.

Wang Xiaoping, minister of human resources and social security, told a recent news conference that the domestic job market was stable last year and she sees a good job market this year.

She said the nation's economy is improving and the government has confidence in maintaining healthy employment. However, some job seekers or workers still face structural imbalances that need to be addressed.

Du said China faces tough challenges to expand employment in the future, due to a decreasing working-age population and an increasing number of seniors. He said it is necessary to use policy tools and tap the potential of human resources to make employment growth a strong impetus for economic development and livelihood improvement.

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