China has completed more than 60 percent of its annual target of new urban jobs, with 5.64 million such jobs created in the year's first half, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
The country set a target to add more than 9 million new urban jobs in the Government Work Report, and it has completed 62.7 percent of the annual target, according to the NBS.
The country's surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.7 percent in June, 0.2 percentage points lower than in May, Liu Aihua, spokeswoman for the NBS, said at a news conference of the State Council Information office.
The surveyed unemployment rate among people ages 25 to 59－the majority of the labor market－stood at 5.2 percent in June, down 0.2 percentage points from May, Liu said.
In 31 major cities, the surveyed unemployment rate was 5.8 percent last month, down 0.1 percentage points from May, she said.
Calculations for the surveyed urban unemployment rate are based on unemployed people who participated in the survey in urban areas, including migrant workers in cities.
Liu said the COVID-19 pandemic has had a rather serious impact on employment, with 1.73 million fewer new urban jobs added in the year's first half compared with last year, while the number of rural migrant workers also decreased by 4.96 million year-on-year during the same period.
The pandemic has also led to a record unemployment rate among college graduates as companies have reduced hiring, she said.
"The surveyed unemployment rate among people ages 20 to 24, with the majority being new college graduates, stood at 19.3 percent in June, up 2.1 percentage points from May and 3.9 percentage points from last year," she said.
According to the Government Work Report, the country will give priority to stabilizing employment and ensuring living standards this year, aiming to keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 6 percent.
A record 8.74 million students graduated from the country's higher education institutions this year, up by 400,000 from last year, and they have faced tougher challenges in finding jobs amid the pandemic.
Chen Zhiwen, editor-in-chief of the online education portal EOL, said rather than holding out for ideal or high-paying jobs, college graduates should lower their expectations for their first job.
Although the country has taken various measures to ease the employment pressure for college graduates, including increasing the number of student slots for postgraduate studies by 189,000 this year, these measures do not create new jobs and can only delay students' employment by a few years.
Those graduating in these times need to realize that their employment prospects will not improve drastically if they just sit home and wait for the pandemic to be over, because there will be more new graduates competing with them at that time, he said.