China's Unemployment Rate Steady in September

By | Oct 27, 2014 10:41 PM EDT
China Unemployment

Thousands of job seekers visit booths at a job fair in Chongqing municipality, October 11, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Urban unemployment rate in China was 4.07 percent at the end of September, nearly the same as the 4.08% rate registered in the second quarter of this year, the country's labor ministry revealed.

The September urban unemployment rate goes in line with the central government's aim to keep the rate below 4.6 percent this year, unchanged from its target for 2013, despite a slowdown in the economy.

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In the first nine months of this year, China added a total of 10.82 million jobs, according to a statement distributed at a news conference.

That is reassuring news for policymakers given signs of weakness in other parts of the economy, in particular a sagging real estate sector.

Analysts, however, believe that the actual urban unemployment rate could be higher given the fact that it is very difficult to trace China's millions of migrant workers.

"The real number may be much higher given difficulties in tracking China's army of migrant workers," said one Shanghai-based economist.

The steady unemployment rate came at a time that China's economy is slowing. Government officials insisted that the country's labor market remain healthy even with the economic headwinds.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang earlier said that China's slower economic growth will continue to be tolerable as long as enough jobs are created. 

However, Li often refers to a survey-based unemployment indicator, which excludes an estimated more than 200 migrant workers who are not registered with local authorities.

The National Bureau of Statistics has been developing a new internal measure of urban unemployment, a survey-based figure that also measures migrant worker unemployment, and said in July it was preparing to publish the figure. 

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