Li Keqiang: China’s job situation ‘complicated and dangerous’

Hong Kong
CNN Business

One of China’s top leaders painted a bleak picture of the labor market in the world’s most populous country, with lockdowns spreading widely due to the Covid virus. Put the brakes on the economy.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang – No. 2 in China’s ruling Communist Party hierarchy – has described the employment situation as “complex and dangerous”.

In a statement on Saturday, he instructed all levels of government to prioritize measures to boost jobs and maintain stability. These measures include helping small businesses survive, supporting the Internet economy, providing incentives to encourage people to start their own businesses, and granting unemployment benefits. for laid-off workers.

“Employment stability is critical to people’s livelihood, and is the main support for the economy to function within a reasonable range,” Lee said.

His comments come at a time when the unemployment rate in the country has risen to the highest rate in the country Almost two years, according to data from the government.

Every year, China needs to add millions of new jobs to keep the economy growing. The government has set a goal of creating at least 11 million jobs in towns and cities in 2022. But Lee said in March that he hoped the economy could generate more than 13 million jobs. This year, citing the need to absorb college graduates and migrant rural workers.

Li, who takes care of China’s economic management, has made repeated appeals to employment stability in recent weeks, and his comments this weekend are a stark reminder of the cost of China’s Covid restrictions.

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As the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads rapidly in China, the country is battling its worst outbreak in more than two years. So far, at least 27 Chinese cities are under complete or partial lockdown, which could affect up to 185 million residents across the country, according to CNN’s latest calculations.

More than two years after the outbreak of the epidemic, President Ji Xinping is doubling down on his tough zero-Covid policy even as the rest of the world tries to learn to live with the virus. It involves mandatory mass testing and a strict lockdown.

On Thursday, Xi said China will punish anyone. Questions about these policies.

The shutdowns have brought the world’s second-largest economy “close to breaking point,” according to a recent report by Societe Generale analysts.

In April, China’s giant service sector contraction at the second most rapid pace It was recorded because the Covid lockdowns severely affected small businesses. Its manufacturing sector has also shrunk sharply.

The latest data from the government shows unemployment hit a 21-month high in March, and that was before China closure extended In the financial center of Shanghai, imposed tight restrictions in Beijing. The unemployment rate in 31 major cities rose to a record high in March.

The country’s huge tech sector is also staring at An unprecedented job crisis.

The once free-wheeling industry has long been the main source of well-paid jobs in China, but big companies are now said to be downsizing on a scale not seen before as the government continues its crackdown on private businesses. The largest internet regulator in the country She said In the past month, the sector has not experienced such a crisis, but the topic is still widely discussed on Chinese social media.

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Other industries, from real estate to education, have also seen steep job losses in recent months.

Beijing is aware of the economic pain and is particularly concerned about the dangers of mass unemployment, which would destabilize the legitimacy of the Communist Party. Earlier last month, Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua called ‘comprehensive efforts’ To stabilize employment.

On April 28, the Communist Party’s Politburo pledged to implement “important measures” to support the internet economy and hinted at easing a year-long crackdown on the tech sector.

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