Daily Management Review

1.8 Million Workers in Chinese Coal and Steel Sectors to be Laid-off


1.8 Million Workers in Chinese Coal and Steel Sectors to be Laid-off
More than 1.8 million workers in China would be laid off in China, the country announced on Monday. The sectors where this restructuring would take place are in the coal and steel industries.
This would amount to about 15 percent of the total workforce and is has been described as a part of efforts to reduce industrial overcapacity. However no timeframe was given.
This is for the first time that the magnitude of its task in dealing with slowing growth and bloated state enterprises has been given by China in terms of numbers.
1.3 million workers in the coal sector could lose jobs, plus 500,000 from the steel sector, Yin Weimin, the minister for human resources and social security, told a news conference. According to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics, China's coal and steel sectors employ about 12 million workers.
"This involves the resettlement of a total of 1.8 million workers. This task will be very difficult, but we are still very confident," Yin said.
Keeping a lid on unemployment and any possible unrest that may follow has been a top priority for China's stability-obsessed government.
In order to relocate workers laid off as a result of China's efforts to curb overcapacity, the central government will allocate 100 billion yuan ($15.27 billion) over two years, officials said last week.
The fund would mainly focus on the steel and coal sectors, Premier Li Keqiang was quoted by China's vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao as telling U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Monday.
Jiang Feitao, an industry researcher with the China Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think-tank said that the number of layoffs was reasonable based on the government's capacity closure targets.
The enterprises go bankrupt would be the beneficiaries of this fund which are being made avaiklable, he said, for dealing with those debts.
"It's difficult to predict a timeframe but it will not be a quick process. There are many issues to be dealt with, including how to pay debt as well as layoffs," he said.
The Chinese government aims to achieve economic growth of 6.5-7 percent in 2016 after the world's second-largest economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, the weakest in 25 years.
"The economy faces relatively big downward pressures and some firms face difficulties in production and operation, which would lead to insufficient employment," Yin said.
He added that pressure would be added in the job market after the increasing number of graduates this year.
During the 2008 global financial crisis over 28 million workers were laid off between 1998 and 2003. This year however there have been no reports of mass layoffs as occurred during the global financial crisis despite of economic downturn.
The National Bureau of Statistics published a survey-based jobless rate that noted that the rate of unemployment stayed at around 5.01 percent at the end of last year.
The services sector has created more jobs to help absorb laid-off workers from the manufacturing sector, officials have said.
For the first time, the services sector’s contribution to the GDP climbed to 50.5 in 2015 and surpassed the 50 percent mark.
The registered urban jobless rate was at 4.05 percent at the end of 2015 as published by the human resources and social security ministry.
However the few official employment readings in China underestimate the number of jobless, believes many economists.
(Source:www.reuters.com & www.ktwb.com) 

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