Young people seek employment opportunities at a job fair that attracted companies from the technology, internet and finance sectors, among others. [Photo by Zhou Yi/China News Service]

A slew of measures disclosed on Wednesday is expected to keep China’s employment market stable and support the real economy amid increasing downward pressure.

Four measures were released in a guideline by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, to promote stable employment, support company operations, business startups and professional training, and help laid-off workers.

Fifty percent of the unemployment insurance paid the previous year will be refunded to company participants in the social security scheme if they don’t lay off any workers or keep redundancies to a minimum.

Individuals and small businesses can apply for loans of up to 3 million yuan ($437,000). In the next three years, 1 million young people will be trained and intern subsidies will be expanded to those aged 16 to 24 yet to find jobs.

Employment has been basically stable this year, but some companies and sectors are facing challenges as domestic and international uncertainties are rising, Zhang Yizhen, vice-minister of human resources and social security, told a policy briefing hosted by the State Council Information Office on Wednesday. Policy support is needed due to the pressure of a large number of jobseekers and people’s desire to find high-quality jobs, she said.

China-US trade frictions have affected the Chinese economy, including employment, Zhang said. However, key groups have seen stable employment situations, with most college graduates and migrant workers able to find jobs, she said.

Meanwhile, 1.49 million people who had difficulties finding jobs were finally employed, 20,000 more than the same period in 2017, the vice-minister said. She said surveys found that job vacancies still outnumbered applicants in the third quarter in 100 major cities.

In the first 10 months of the year, new jobs created in urban areas hit 12 million, 90,000 more than the same period last year, said the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

However, a report released by the recruitment website zhaopin.com and the China Institute for Employment Research said that recruitment demand from companies declined in the third quarter. The number of available positions dropped by 27 percent from the same period last year, and the number of applicants went down by 9.8 percent, the report said. It demonstrated the necessity to provide further policy support for the employment market.

Employment needs joint efforts by government at all levels, market entities and the public to create a good environment, Zhang said. To achieve the goals set in the guideline, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and two other departments have released two notices on providing all-around employment services and stimulus plans.

In the meantime, more funds will go to aid. Diverse channels, such as employment subsidies, the unemployment insurance fund, and the educational fund for employees, will be used to help stabilize the employment market, the vice-minister said.

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