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By Isabelle Li and Lin Jinbing / Mar 14, 2019 06:05 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Despite a gloomy employment outlook since late last year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday the overall labor situation has “stabilized."

The surveyed urban unemployment rate in February was 5.3%, lower than the target set for this year of "around 5.5%", but higher than December's 4.9%. This was also the highest rate since February 2017, according to NBS figures compiled by data provider CEIC. The NBS only started regularly releasing the surveyed urban unemployment rate in early 2018.

In China’s 31 major cities, the number was 5.0% last month, 0.3 percentage points higher than in December.

Among the 25-59 age cohort, which makes up the majority of labor force, the jobless rate was 4.9%. Last December, the number was 4.4%.

Concerns have been growing since late 2018 regarding overall employment in the country, as China’s economy slows. The securities industry saw its first annual headcount reduction last year since 2014, and significant job cuts have been happening across the tech industry. 

Related: Job Hoppers Think Twice as Economy Slows

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