Caixin
Apr 28, 2022 04:19 AM
ECONOMY

China’s Cabinet Vows Stronger Policy to Boost Jobs Amid Covid Upsurge

What’s new: China’s cabinet pledged to further step up policies to stabilize employment and maintain steady economic performance as the country battles its worse Covid-19 outbreak since the early days of the pandemic.

Adding to sweeping guidelines issued Monday for bolstering the economy, the State Council said more forceful policy measures should be taken to help businesses resume operation, state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. The steps including extending the policy of temporarily waiving payment of retirement, unemployment and work-related injury insurance premiums for all small, medium and micro enterprises and sole proprietors hit by the pandemic, the cabinet said.

The cabinet supports local governments in offering periodic electricity rate discounts to industries in difficulties, continuing to offer broadband discounts to small, medium and micro businesses, and lower costs for online startups that create jobs, according to the meeting.

The State Council also called for coordinated epidemic prevention and control and keeping logistics and transportation unimpeded. Assistance will be offered to cargo freight operators. From May 1 to year-end, eligible express delivery businesses will be exempt from value-added tax. The cabinet also pledged to provide 100 billion yuan ($15.24 billion) of re-lending loans to support logistics and warehousing enterprises.

The background: Chinese authorities have made multiple efforts to stabilize the economy in the past few days. The State Council issued guidelines Monday for boosting consumption, supporting acceleration of the development of new energy vehicles, opening duty-free shops in cities and creating employment for young people. 

The central bank has rolled out a raft of measures to support individuals and small businesses as the economy faces headwinds from Covid-driven lockdowns.

China’s employment situation worsened in March as the nationwide survey-based urban jobless rate climbed to 5.8%, the highest since May 2020. Meanwhile, job openings for new graduates declined 4.5% in the first quarter this year from a year ago, according to leading recruitment service provider Zhaopin.com.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bob.simison@caixin.com)

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