BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- In the first half of the year, China's economy largely held up well despite an escalating trade row. Among a string of solid economic indicators, job creation figures were particularly positive.
A total of 7.52 million new jobs were generated in urban areas in the first six months, 170,000 more than the same period last year. The registered unemployment rate stood at 3.83 percent, down from 3.95 percent a year ago.
Not a brief success, the job market has for years remained a major bright spot despite the slowdown in the wider economy, even amid the global financial crisis a decade ago.
The secret lies in sustained policy support and endogenous economic strength.
Chinese policy makers attach great significance to employment, which, along with consumer prices, is an area that directly affects everyday life. Premier Li Keqiang once said that while market observers closely track GDP growth, it is employment that is the top priority of the Chinese government.
Favorable policies such as subsidies and free training are renewed every year for job seekers, including college graduates, migrant workers, veterans, the disabled and people who want to start their own business.
"A stable economy and fast-growing new drivers have played a fundamental role for the job market to hold steady and expand," Meng Wei, a spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said at a press conference.
China's GDP expanded 6.8 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2018, up from the annual target of around 6.5 percent and within the range of 6.7 to 6.9 percent for 12 consecutive quarters.
The economy is creating jobs in unprecedented numbers, including digital jobs in e-commerce, online entertainment, finance and smart manufacturing, Boston Consulting Group said in a report.
The global consultancy firm said across the world China had become a bigger draw for people to relocate to for a job than in the past. "China is now the 20th most popular destination worldwide," it said. "That's a rise from 2014, when China was number 29."
China's job-creation capacity has stayed untouched amid the economic slowdown and even become more efficient, thanks to an ongoing service-led economic shift and rising entrepreneurial wave.
The share of the service industry in GDP continued to rise in the first half to 54.3 percent. Every percentage point of the country's GDP growth was translated into 1.96 million new jobs last year, 340,000 more than five years ago.
"Ongoing industry upgrades and the rapid development of new industries lay the foundations for steadily improving employment," said Zhang Libin, a researcher with the Labor Science Research Institute under China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. "All the statistics point to relatively full employment in the job market."
The government aims to keep the registered jobless rate below 4.5 percent this year, and the surveyed jobless rate, a new gauge introduced in 2014, below 5.5 percent.
"Estimates show that steady growth around 6 percent will prevent major employment problems," Zhang said. "Given China's economic status quo, there will be no serious difficulties in the job market."
Analysts also believe trade friction will have limited and controllable adverse impact on employment as China has ample policies and measures to mitigate headwinds in foreign trade.
"We are capable of handling all kinds of risks and challenges and realizing more sufficient employment of higher quality," Meng Wei said.