Premier Li urges extra help for college graduates in regions hit hard by virus
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday urged extra help from local governments to stabilize employment in regions that have been hit hard by the coronavirus, in a meeting at which ensuring job opportunities for college graduates was central to discussions.
Students who have graduated from higher education institutions this year are facing enormous challenges in terms of their employment, Premier Li pointed out.
China's economy has taken a brutal beating against the backdrop of widespread COVID-19 cases since last December, with GDP falling 6.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 year on year. The situation has since brightened thanks to the vigorous measures implemented by the government.
In March, China's job market improved slightly. According to official data, the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.9 percent, 0.3 percentage points down from the previous month, at a time when the country's leaders have been calling for a gradual resumption of the country's economy.
Employment, especially for fresh graduates, is a huge chunk of the economic recovery process. Their employment is our top priority, Li stressed.
In the meeting, the premier urged more diverse measures to "broaden" graduates' career paths, while continuing to encourage entrepreneurship.
He also called for more job training and shadowing sessions to ensure stable employment.
Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, where the first confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported, has offered at least 250,000 job positions for graduates.
Wu Gang, an official with the city's Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security, told Xinhua that the local government will provide 1,000 yuan (about 141 U.S. dollars) in subsidies per graduate student hired to micro, small, and medium enterprises, as well as social organizations that offer jobs.