Expanding Population with Stable Employment

2023-02-08 16:10:39 | Author:National Bureau of Statistics

Expanding Population with Stable Employment 

—Series Report XVIII on the Economic and Social Development Achievements since the 18th CPC National Congress 


Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has adhered to the philosophy of people-centered development, attached great importance to population and employment, followed the law of population development, adjusted and optimized the family planning policy, and continued to expand the size of the population and improve its quality. By strengthening the orientation of giving priority to employment, placing employment first in the work of "ensuring stability on six fronts, and maintaining security in six areas", fully implementing the employment-first policy, and adopting supportive measures to bolster employment and expand job opportunities, several achievements have been made in the expanding urban employed population and maintaining stable employment with continuously optimized structure and quality. 

I. Steady Population Growth with Significantly Accelerated Agglomeration 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has adhered to the integrated decision making mechanism of population and development, and constantly adjusted and optimized the family planning policy, thus maintaining steady population growth and optimized gender structure, and increasing population mobility and agglomeration degree. 

(I) Sustained population growth 

In view of the declining fertility rate and aging population, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has adhered to the integrated decision-making mechanism of population and development, followed the laws of population development, and introduced the "two-child policy" for couples of which one partner is an only child, and the "universal two-child policy" respectively in 2013 and 2016. In 2021, to further promote the long-term and balanced development of China's population, the CPC Central Committee unveiled a policy that would allow a couple to have three children and put forward related support measures. The adjustment and optimization of the family planning policy has met people's diversified needs, and increased the size of newborns, with an average annual birth population of 16.2 million from 2012 to 2021. At the end of 2021, China's population reached 1412.6 million, up 53.38 million from the end of 2012, with an average annual growth of 5.931 million, or an annual growth rate of 0.4%. 

(II) Optimized gender structure 

China has seen a steadily declined sex ratio at birth. At the end of 2021, China's male population was 723.11 million, accounting for 51.2%, and the female population was 689.49 million, accounting for 48.8%, with a general gender ratio of 104.9, down 0.2 from 2012. In terms of the gender structure of the birth population, the sex ratio at birth in 2021 was 108.3, 9.4 lower than that in 2012, indicating a marked improvement in the gender structure. 

(III) Increasingly active population mobility 

Population mobility is an important indicator of our population and social development. Since 2012, with the continuous progress of urbanization, China's population mobility has become increasingly active, injecting a strong impetus to the stable and healthy development of the economy and society. In 2020, 492.76 million people were living in a place different from their household registration site, accounting for 34.9% of the national population, of which the floating population reached 375.82 million, accounting for 26.6% of the national population. Compared with 2010, the number of population who live in places other than their household registration areas increased by 231.38 million, with a growth rate of 88.5%, and the floating population increased by 154.39 million, with a growth rate of 69.7%. In terms of the trend for population flow, there has been a steady influx of people to coastal and riverine areas and urban areas in the mainland, and the population in the eastern region has continued to increase, with the proportion of the population rising by 2.1 percentage points compared to 2010. Population agglomeration of major city clusters has increased, with the population of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Yangtze River Delta and the Chengdu-Chongqing cluster growing rapidly by 35.0%, 12.0% and 7.3% respectively. The four provinces (cities) of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong and Zhejiang all had a population density increment of more than 100 people per square kilometer in the past 10 years. 

II. Significant Improvement in Education and Sustained Promotion of Health 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has seen sustained development in education and public health, with better education quality, higher education levels, longer life expectancy and continued improvement in health. 

(I) Steady improvement of education 

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have continued to promote the equity and quality of education, advance the high-quality and balanced development of compulsory education across the rural and urban areas, and optimize the development of special, continuing and vocational education, thus making a steady improvement of the level of education and cultural quality of population. In 2020, the average schooling years for the population aged 15 and above reached 9.9 years, 0.7 years higher than in 2012. The proportion of illiterate people aged 15 and above in the national population dropped from 4.2% in 2012 to 2.7% in 2020. In 2020, the population with high school education and above reached 431.37 million, accounting for 30.6% of the national population, 123.74 million more than in 2010, up 7.6 percentage points. Among them, those with junior college education and above reached 218.36 million, accounting for 15.5%, 98.72 million more than in 2010, up 6.5 percentage points. The average schooling years for people aged from 16 to 59 reached 10.8 years, up 1.1 years from 2010, with 43.8% of the population educated in high school or above, an increase of 12.8 percentage points. 

(II) Continued improvement in health status 

With the continuous advancement of the Healthy China Initiative, significant improvements have been made in fitness venues and facilities, boosting the development of mass sports events and activities, increasingly encouraging the public participation in fitness activities, and markedly improving the public health. As of end 2021, the proportion of people who regularly participate in physical exercise reached 37.2% [1], and the health status of Chinese population continued to improve. In 2020, the average life expectancy of the population reached 77.9 years, 3.1 years higher than in 2010. The maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate both dropped significantly, from 24.5/100,000 and 10.3‰ in 2012 to 16.1/100,000 and 5.0‰ in 2021, respectively, and the neonatal mortality rate dropped from 6.9‰ in 2012 to 3.1‰ in 2021. The health status of the elderly has improved with the elderly accounting for a higher proportion in population. In 2020, the proportion of healthy elderly aged 60 and above reached 54.6%, 10.8 percentage points higher than in 2010. 

III. Overall Stability in Employment Situation and Strong Supports for Key Groups 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to employment, placed employment first in the work of "ensuring stability on six fronts, and maintaining security in six areas", fully implemented the employment-first policy, and adopted supportive measures to bolster employment and expand job opportunities, maintaining an overall stability in employment situation. 

(I) Continuous expansion of urban employment

China's economy has registered a record high total volume characterized by sustained promotion of high-quality development and accelerated construction of new development pattern. New employment growth points keep emerging, laying a solid foundation for stabilizing and expanding employment. Affected by the deepening of population aging and the gradual decline of working-age population, the total number of employed people began to decrease after reaching the peak of 763.49 million in 2014. However, with the acceleration of urbanization, a large number of rural labor force moved to cities and towns, and the number of urban employed people maintained an increasing trend.  In 2013, the proportion of employees in cities and towns surpassed that of rural areas for the first time, reaching 50.5%. In 2021, the total number of urban employees reached 467.73 million, 94.86 million more than in 2012, with an average annual growth of 10.54 million; the proportion of urban employment has increased to 62.7%, 13.8 percentage points higher than in 2012, with an average annual increase of 1.5 percentage points. 

(II) Unemployment rate within a reasonable range 

Thanks to the effective synergy between economic growth and job enlargement, China's labor market has basically achieved a balance between demand and supply, leading to relatively full employment. From 2018 to 2019, the surveyed urban unemployment rate [2] was kept at a low level of around 5.0%. In early 2020, the employment situation was hampered by the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the unemployment rate rising to 6.2% in February. Facing severe and complex domestic and international challenges, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have coordinated pandemic containment and socio-economic growth through a series of policy measures to comprehensively promote the resumption of work and production, largely reduce the burden and stabilize employment, ensure the stable employment for key groups, encourage flexible employment through multiple channels, enhance vocational skills training and strengthen employment services, etc., thus creating a better employment situation. With the economy recovering and various employment policies taking effect, the urban unemployment rate started to fall, dropping to 5.2% in December 2020, down to the same level as the same period in 2019, and falling to 5.1% in December 2021. 

(III) Strong supports for key social groups 

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to key groups of employment, insisted on combining market-oriented social employment with government assistance, strived to expand employment capacity, to ease structural contradictions in employment, and to ensure a stable employment situation for key groups. An action plan to promote employment and entrepreneurship among college graduates has been implemented to support and guide enterprises to absorb employment, actively enlarge employment in the public sector and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, which has effectively solved the problem of employment difficulties for college graduates. An accurate cross-regional coordination for rural labor force has been strengthened to effectively promote the employment of surplus labour outside their home towns, and encourage people to work nearby and return to their hometowns to start businesses based on the development of county economies and rural industries. From 2012 to 2021, the total number of migrant workers increased from 262.61 million to 292.51 million, and the size of migrant workers grew steadily. Employment assistance for the disadvantaged groups has been continuously strengthened. Since 2012, by annual average, more than 5.5 million unemployed workers have been re-employed, more than 1.7 million people in difficulty have found a job, and about 50,000 zero-employment households now have at least one member of the family employed. 

IV. Promoted Employment and Optimized Employment Structure under Economic Transformation 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, with the continuous promotion of economic transformation and upgrading, the supply-side structural reform and high-quality development, new industries and business models have emerged, China's employment structure has optimized, and the quality of the employed has been enhanced. 

(I) Enhanced employment absorption capacity of the service industry 

With the adjustment and optimization of China's economic structure and the accelerated growth of new development momentum, the tertiary industry has become a major force in driving economic growth and absorbing employment. In 2021, the number of the employed in primary, secondary and tertiary industries in China reached 170.72 million, 217.12 million and 358.68 million respectively, accounting for 22.9%, 29.1% and 48.0% respectively; Compared with 2012, the proportion of the primary and secondary industries decreased by 10.6 and 1.3 percentage points respectively, while the proportion of the tertiary industry increased by 11.9 percentage points. The coordination between the employment structure and the production value structure of the three industries has improved significantly. 

(II) Significant employment-driven effect of the new economy 

With the new round of technological revolution and the vigorous growth of the digital economy, new industries and new business models are progressing with each passing day, giving birth to new jobs and positions such as big data engineers and technicians, drone pilots, online delivery workers and internet marketers. New economy employment has become an important channel for absorbing employment with its large employment capacity, high salary level, flexibility and part-time nature. Especially under the impact of the pandemic, the development of the new economy has provided abundant flexible jobs, playing a positive role in widening employment channels, enhancing employment flexibility and increasing workers' income. The Report on the Development of China's Sharing Economy (2021) released by the State Information Center shows that, in 2020, the number of employees in China’s share economy platform enterprises reached 6.31 million, about 1.31 million more than in 2015, and the sharing economy platforms provided about 84 million jobs, about 34 million more than in 2015. 

(III) Significant improvement in the quality of the employed 

The rapid development of education has led to steady optimization of the educational structure of employees in China, providing an abundance of highly qualified talents to the labor market. In 2020, the proportion of employees with primary school education or below and junior high school education was 18.7% and 41.7% respectively, down 2.3 and 6.6 percentage points respectively from 2012; the proportion of employees with high school, college education and above was 17.5% and 22.2% respectively, up 0.4 and 8.5 percentage points. The average schooling years of employees increased from 9.7 in 2012 to 10.4 years in 2020. China's talent team has expanded continuously, with a total of 187,000 people enjoying special government allowances nationwide by the end of 2021, 20,000 more than in 2012; the Hundred-Thousand-Ten Thousand Talent Project has more than 6,500 talents at the state level, an increase of more than 2,400; a total of 39.35 million people nationwide hold various types of professional and technical qualifications, an increase of 23.60 million. 

V. Greater Social Security and Steady Improvement of Employment Quality 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has embarked on a new stage of development, implemented a new development philosophy, and established a new development pattern. Through focusing on high-quality employment, the country has better served people's aspiration for a better life, and an increasing number of laborers are sharing the fruits of China's social and economic development. 

(I) Continuous growth in wage income 

Driven by continuous growth of China's economy, a sound minimum wage mechanism was established, and the income distribution structure has been optimized. Workers' wage level has grown steadily, and their sense of satisfaction has been significantly enhanced. In 2021, the average wage of employees in urban non-private sector reached RMB 106,837, 1.28 times higher than in 2012, with an average annual growth of 9.6%; 0.91 times higher than in 2012 after deducting the price factor, with an average actual annual growth of 7.4%. The average wage of employees in urban private sector reached RMB 62,884, 1.19 times higher than in 2012, with an average annual growth of 9.1%; 0.83 times higher than in 2012 after deducting the price factor, with an average actual annual growth of 6.9%. 

(II) More standardized employment of enterprises 

China has continuously improved relevant laws and regulations, rectified the order of the human resources market, strengthened the supervision of labour dispatching, regulated the signing of labour contracts, enhanced labour law enforcement and vigorously carried out actions to eradicate wage arrears of migrant workers, maintaining the vitality of the labour market while effectively protecting the legitimate rights and interests of workers. In 2021, a total of 1.32 million collective contracts were submitted to human resources and social security departments for review, involving a total of 120 million workers; Labor security supervision agencies at all levels filed and investigated 63,000 cases of wage violations and recovered RMB 5.65 billion wage arrears and other benefits for 450,000 migrant workers. 

(III) Gradual strengthening of labor security 

The 18th CPC National Congress set a goal of building a moderately prosperous society where all are covered by social security. China has continued to increase financial investment and reform efforts, built the world's largest social security system, and significantly increased the coverage of various social insurances. At the end of 2021, the number of urban workers covered by basic old-age insurance reached 480.74 million, an increase of 176.45 million over the end of 2012; 354.31 million employees were covered by basic medical insurance, an increase of 89.45 million people; 229.58 million employees were covered by unemployment insurance, an increase of 77.33 million people; 282.87 million employees were covered by employment injury insurance, an increase of 92.77 million people; 237.52 million employees were covered by childbirth insurance, an increase of 83.23 million people. 

(IV) Increasingly improved employment services 

Public employment services are an important vehicle for promoting the supply and demand matching in the labour market, performing employment and unemployment management and implementing employment policies. After years of efforts, China's public employment service system has continued to improve, contributing to a nationwide establishment of public employment service agencies at the county (district) level and above, with more than 98% of streets and towns having service windows, providing free services such as registration for recruitment and job-seeking, career guidance, job introduction and entrepreneurship guidance. A five-level administration and service network for public employment is being improved, special services such as the "Spring Breeze Action Plan" are taking shape, the standardization, intelligence and specialization of employment services are being promoted, and the scale of the human resources service industry is growing with significant improvement in service capacity. At the end of 2021, there were 59,100 human resource service agencies in the whole industry, providing employment, job selection and mobility services to 304 million workers and professional support to 50.99 million employers. 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has seen progress in the development of population and employment under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. In the next stage, we should promote long-term balanced population development and ensure a stable employment situation, adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, actively implement the national strategy for population aging, implement the three-child birth policy and other support measures, strengthen the employment first policy, and promote fuller and higher quality employment, so as to build the country into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally-advanced, harmonious, and with a sound environment and provide a solid foundation and lasting momentum for the realization of the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 



[1] Data from the State Council Information Office's briefing on building a higher level of public service system for fitness and physical activity on 30 March 2022. 

[2] The national urban survey-derived unemployment rate has been officially released to the public since 2018.