News / Asia

    China Aims for 6.5-7% Growth as Layoffs Loom

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, center walks past Chinese President Xi Jinping, at right to deliver a work report for the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 5, 2016.
    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, center walks past Chinese President Xi Jinping, at right to deliver a work report for the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 5, 2016.

    China has announced a wide range of measures that it believes will help keep the world’s second-largest economy growing by at least 6.5 percent this year, even as slowing global growth and massive job layoffs loom for some industries.
     
    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang opted to announce the economic growth objective as a range of 6.5 to seven percent of gross domestic product while presenting a key government report on Saturday. China achieved 6.9 percent growth last year, against the target of seven percent as the economy grew at its slowest pace in a quarter century.

    FILE - A closed brick factory building on the outskirts of Beijing, China, Jan. 18, 2016. Chinese manufacturing ebbed in January to its lowest in more than three years, a possible sign of further weakness in the world's No. 2 economy.
    FILE - A closed brick factory building on the outskirts of Beijing, China, Jan. 18, 2016. Chinese manufacturing ebbed in January to its lowest in more than three years, a possible sign of further weakness in the world's No. 2 economy.


    "I think the aim is to lower the expectations and make it more flexible," said Zhang Yunling, member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference or CPPCC. "There are difficulties in economic restructuring and the global economic situation is worse than expected."
     
    Analysts said Li appeared to be discouraging high expectations, given the risk of a political backlash from the ongoing economic slowdown.
     
    "China will face more and tougher problems and challenges in its development this year, so we must be fully prepared to fight a difficult battle,” Li said, in remarks to the country’s largely rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress or NPC.

    FILE - bA cargo ship is anchored at a port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, Feb. 14, 2016. China's exports fell 11.2 percent in January from a year earlier and imports tumbled 18.8 percent.
    FILE - bA cargo ship is anchored at a port in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, Feb. 14, 2016. China's exports fell 11.2 percent in January from a year earlier and imports tumbled 18.8 percent.


    Looming layoffs
     
    Earlier this week, even before the NPC and CPPCC – a political advisory body – began hosting their annual top-level meetings in Beijing, one official said China’s coal and steel industries expect to layoff 1.8 million workers as enterprises deal with overcapacity.

     The official did not give a timeline for the layoffs.

    FILE - Miners wait in lines to shower during a break near a coal mine in Heshun county, Shanxi province, Dec. 5, 2014.
    FILE - Miners wait in lines to shower during a break near a coal mine in Heshun county, Shanxi province, Dec. 5, 2014.


    Quoting sources, the Reuters news agency has reported that China aims to layoff as many as eight million workers over the next two to three years.
     
    It was clear from Li’s remarks that controlling job losses are a top priority. In his speech, Li said the government aims to create 10 million new urban jobs this year and 50 million by 2020.
     
    In an indication of just how mindful China is about of the possibility of large-scale layoffs, Li announced that authorities aim to provide training for some 21 million migrant workers and employment services for military personnel who have been demobilized. A generous $16 billion has also been carved out of the budgetary cake for the purpose of retraining and resettling unemployed workers.
     
    "Announcement of funds to support displaced workers are welcome provided laid off workers are provided with pensions and retraining in order to move them into productive areas of the economy like logistics and services," said Mats Harborn, vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China.
     
    Unemployment set at 4.5 %

     
    China has set a goal to keep unemployment at or below 4.5 percent, but it faces a double-edged challenge as it seeks to restructure its economy and create new jobs in the growing service sector, while facing the possibility of massive layoffs in traditional industries like coal mining and steel production.
     
    In his speech, Li also talked about the importance of helping more than 7.6 million graduates who will join the work force this year to find employment. He said that incentives would be used to encourage companies to hire graduates and help them start their own businesses.

    FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015 photo, a Chinese man works amid orange robot arms at Rapoo Technology factory in southern Chinese industrial boomtown of Shenzhen.
    FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015 photo, a Chinese man works amid orange robot arms at Rapoo Technology factory in southern Chinese industrial boomtown of Shenzhen.


    China’s ruling communist party places a high priority on maintaining stability and keeping unemployment low has long been seen as way of preventing possible unrest or broader dissatisfaction that could potentially threaten its grip on power.
     
    Mei Xingbao, a prominent businessman and CPPCC representative, told VOA earlier in the week that there would be pressures on social stability from layoffs. But, the pressure is unlikely to be as great as in the past because of preparations authorities have made to minimize the impact, he added.
     
    “In some places it will be inevitable that there will be sit-ins and petitions made to authorities, and that is why the government needs to do a good job calming down those who have lost their jobs and implementing its policies,” Mei said.
     
    Low income, high spending

     
    Li admitted that tax income from industries has come down sharply because of the economic softening. But he announced higher doses of expenditure in major infrastructure projects that include housing and railways networks. The result is a high level of deficit financing to support the increased spending in 2016, though past Communist governments have shunned this method of balancing budgets.
     
    "Government spending is still crucial for development. The new expenditures will not cause problems because central government debt is still low and inflation is not high," Zhang said.
     
    There are still inadequacies in the work of the government, analysts said. Some reforms, policies, and measures have not been fully implemented; a small number of government employees either do not or are unable to fulfill their duties, or behave irresponsibly; and the corruption and misconduct in some sectors cannot be ignored.

    VOA Mandarin service correspondent Ye Bing also contributed to this report.

     

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora