"The global financial crisis has led to job losses in China and many migrant workers had to return to the rural areas," Cheng Guoqiang, deputy head of the Chinese State Council’s Development & Research Center, said at a conference yesterday in Beijing.
"Earlier reports put the estimate at 20 million people. According to our estimate, about 30 million farmers have lost their jobs."
Annual growth should be 8 percent at minimum
The higher estimate underscores the challenge facing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as he tries to keep the world’s most-populous nation expanding at 8 percent a year to prevent unemployment from leading to social unrest.
About 225 million people, or 28 percent of China’s rural population, are migrant workers who have left their farms in search of work in cities and towns, the National Bureau of Statistics said in March.
Ensuring growth and creating jobs are the two biggest tasks for the Chinese government this year, Wen said on April 18 at the Boao Forum in southern China’s Hainan province. The Chinese economy, which has averaged 9.9 percent annual growth since 1978, is showing signs of recovering after the government’s 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus spending had "better-than-expected" results, Wen said.
China’s official jobless rate was 4.2 percent at the end of 2008, the fifth lowest of 15 Asia-Pacific economies, according to Bloomberg data.