Wen warns about job losses


AMID GROWING anxiety over China’s flagging economic growth, premier Wen Jiabao has warned that the country’s labour situation could become more “more complex and severe”, resulting in more job losses.

At a gathering in the Great Hall of the People of state companies that have contributed to job growth, the outgoing prime minister called for more efforts to expand employment, and urged authorities to prioritise job creation. In remarks carried in the official China Securities Journal, Mr Wen said the task of generating more employment would be “very heavy and we must make greater efforts to achieve it”.

There is a major focus on maintaining social stability as the ruling Communist Party nears a once-in-a-decade leadership transition this autumn.

China’s urban registered jobless rate has held at 4.1 per cent for seven quarters to the end of March, according to figures from the labour ministry. There are no available figures for nationwide unemployment that includes migrant and other unregistered workers.

“We need to maintain steady and relatively fast economic growth to help create jobs,” Mr Wen said.

China’s annual economic growth slowed to 7.6 per cent in the second quarter, just above the government’s 7.5 per cent full-year target and the weakest quarter since the first quarter of 2009.