Source: China Daily

04-24-2009 08:13

Special Report:   Global Financial Crisis

China's urban registered unemployment rate hit 4.3 percent, a 0.1 percentage-point increase in the first quarter, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Thursday.

It's the second straight quarter of increases. The rate jumped to 4.2 from 4 percent in the fourth quarter last year, the first increase in five years.

The global financial crisis has taken its toll on China's job market as thousands of labor-intensive factories in the export sector have closed down or cut jobs.

Despite the dark news, however, there remains a glimmer of hope.

"The job scenario has shown positive signs in the first quarter," ministry spokesman Yin Chengji told a press conference.

The country has provided 2.68 million new jobs in cities so far this year, with the average monthly increase in employment up 51 percent over the previous quarter, he said.

The ministry wants to keep the unemployment rate below 4.6 percent this year, which would still make it the highest level of unemployment since 1980.

This year the ministry aims to create jobs for 9 million new urban workers, 5 million laid-off workers, and 1 million people who are facing difficulties finding work.

Even with the positive changes in China's economy and job market in the first quarter, the employment situation remains "grim", he said.