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China to relocate half a million workers to balance overcapacity

China will relocate about half a million staff to reduce overcapacity, officials from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) announced at a press conference held on March 1.

Overcapacity reduction in coal and steel was in the spotlight at the briefing. Reducing excess capacity is a vital task to promote supply-side structural reform and‍ redirecting staff is critical to the process, said Yin Weimin, head of MOHRSS.

Starting from the steel and coal industries, China made steady progress in last year’s overcapacity reduction. Around 726,000 staff were reassigned from 1,905 enterprises covering 28 provinces.

China will continue to push this work forward this year, and half a million more workers will be relocated. Comprehensive measures have been implemented to secure the relocation of these workers, and new policies will be launched to support the development of new industrial formats in a bid to provide more jobs, said Yin.

At the press conference, Yin and Vice-Minister You Jun also addressed employment and social security.

More than 13 million new jobs were created in China last year, and the country’s registered unemployment rate leveled off at around 4.1 percent.

“Steady economic growth provides a strong foundation for increased employment. Last year, China’s GDP exceeded 74 trillion RMB ($10.7 trillion). Each one percent increase in GDP created 1.9 million new jobs,” said Yin. “Second, China’s economy is shifting towards a more service-oriented structure, which has a stronger capability to boost employment. Third, China’s support of start-ups and tax reform has created new jobs in various niche markets.”

Pension funds were also addressed at the conference. Seven provinces have entrusted their pension funds to the National Council for Social Security Fund for investment, and a total of 360 billion yuan ($52.33 billion) has been allocated. ‍