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China stresses stable job market amid coronavirus outbreak

Updated: Feb 19,2020 08:17 PM    Xinhua

BEIJING — China has released a set of measures to stabilize employment, including accelerating business resumption, encouraging online hiring and providing financial support for small firms, to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy.

This came as the outbreak disrupted businesses, and led to travel restrictions in some cities and the cancellation of on-site job fairs amid efforts to curb the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 2,000 people on the Chinese mainland.

The country pledged more proactive "employment first" policies, and raced to resume business activities to increase employment while providing support for small companies, which make substantial contributions to the country's job market.

Subsidies were offered by some local governments to institutions that provided employment services and to enterprises that hired more staff, Song Xin, an official with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, told a press conference on Feb 19. 

Song said more targeted measures will be unveiled to help college graduates, the number of which is expected to hit a record 8.74 million this year, find jobs.

The ministry has worked with relevant institutions to arrange online job fairs, provide employment guidance and consulting services, and encourage public employment service providers to facilitate college graduates in contract signing, he said.

On Feb 18, the government decided to temporarily exempt social insurance payments and defer the collection of housing provident funds to mitigate the impact of the epidemic outbreak on enterprises and ensure stable employment.

With the effects of the supportive measures gradually filtering through, the country's employment situation would maintain general stability, said Gui Zhen, another ministry official.