rate has hit its lowest point in multiple years at 3.95 per cent by the end of September, but employment
still face challenges as the economy
pushes ahead with structural reforms, China's labour ministry
said on Sunday.
The ministry of human resources and social security said in a statement that 10.97 million new jobs had been created in China from January to September this year, a growth of 300,000 compared with the previous year.
The figure represents having essentially fulfilled the ministry's year-end target, the ministry said in a pre-prepared statement given to reporters.
Despite being ahead of schedule, Yin Weimin, head of the ministry, told reporters that "raising the capacity to employ workers overall still faces large pressures."
"We need to create 15 million jobs per year," Yin said, singling out China's more than 8 million new university graduates that enter the job market each year as one group in need of additional employment.
Yin also said the low unemployment
rate in the face of an overall slowdown in the economy
was largely due to the new internet economy
and entrepreneurship, adding that the ministry would actively support startups to help them "thrive".
From 2015 to 2020 every one per cent increase in GDP is expected to equal roughly 1.8 million new jobs, Yin said.
Premier Li Keqiang said in March that China added 13.14 million new urban jobs in 2016 and aims to add another 11 million this year while keeping the registered unemployment
rate below 4.5 per cent.
The labour ministry's announcement was made as part of a once-ever-five-years congress of the ruling Communist Party, which opened last Wednesday and runs until Tuesday.
At the congress, the Party sets broad policy directions and reshuffles top leaders. As China's economy
slows, Beijing has made increasing efforts to stave off mass unemployment
that may spark social unrest.
China's official unemployment
rate has remained generally stable as economic growth has dipped to a 26-year low and the government forges ahead with ambitious plans to cut back on industrial capacity.
Many analysts say, however, that the government figure is an unreliable indicator of national employment
conditions as it measures only employment
in urban areas and also doesn't take into account the millions of migrant workers that form the bedrock of China's labour force.
On an annual basis, the official unemployment
rate was last below 4 percent in 2001, when it was 3.6 per cent, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The rate ended 2016 at 4.02 per cent after not budging from 4.1 percent from 2010-2015.
The government has said some sectors, especially those targeted by capacity cuts, such as coal and steel, still show signs of unresolved employment
The ministry of human resources in April said that China would need to resettle about half a million workers that lose jobs in the coal and steel sectors this year and will speed up development of a "black list" system for firms with wage arrears.