China’s employment rate in the first three quarters of 2017 hit a record high, with more than 10 million new jobs added to the economy between January and September, according to a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The period saw about 300,000 more jobs created than in the same period last year, the report said.
The total number of employed people hit 776 million in 2016, according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Employment growth was steady among both college graduates and migrant workers in the first three quarters of this year, the CASS report said.
A total of 3.2 million migrant workers found jobs during the period, a growth of 1.8 percent over the same period last year.
College graduates are another major group in the labor market. Education Ministry data show that 7.95 million college students graduated this year, a record for the past decade.
During the first three quarters, the employment rate of college graduates was basically flat. It was 90.6 percent last year and 91.7 percent in 2015.
Experts believe the stable employment of college graduates is partly due to the mass entrepreneurship and innovation plan proposed by Premier Li Keqiang in 2014 as a new engine for China’s economic growth.
“Local authorities and schools have encouraged students to work at the grassroots level and seek jobs or start businesses in advanced manufacturing, strategic emerging industries and services,” said Mo Rong, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Labor and Social Security. “Some graduates are starting their own businesses.”
The CASS report said about 3.4 million enterprises were registered from January to July, and more than 5,000 platforms have been established to support innovation and incubate new enterprises.
However, it also suggests that the unemployment rate remains high in highly polluting manufacturing industries. And a big gap remains between market needs and the quality of the current labor market.
“China will see a new demographic dividend in coming years, which requires a higher quality labor force that is better trained and educated,” said Li Peilin, deputy director of the CASS.
He suggested that the central government should enhance vocational training and other public services and help employees achieve skills transformations that meet market needs.
For college students, Mo called for improved policies that encourage them to start their own businesses, including an option to take a gap year and to receive credits for entrepreneurial experience.