China has slashed social insurance contributions paid by enterprises amid efforts to boost the job market hit by COVID-19, officials said Tuesday.
From February to June, employers saw a decline of 576.9 billion yuan (about 82.6 billion U.S. dollars) in insurance payments related to old-age, unemployment and work-related injuries, said Zhang Ying, an official with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Besides, insurance premiums worth 63.6 billion yuan were returned to enterprises to help them sustain stable payrolls, while 40.5 billion yuan worth of employment subsidies were handed out, Zhang said.
Nie Mingjun, a ministry official in charge of pension fund, said the total premium reduction is expected to reach 1.9 trillion yuan in 2020.
"The cut will be unprecedented in scale," Nie said. "It will be instrumental in helping enterprises rise above difficulties and ensuring further stability and expansion of employment."
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.7 percent in June, 0.2 percentage points lower than that of May. A total of 5.64 million new urban jobs were created in the first half of 2020, achieving 62.7 percent of the annual target.
"Employment is steadily recovering, thanks to effective control of the COVID-19 epidemic, steady progress in business and work resumption, as well as a warmer economy," Zhang said.
According to a government work report, this year China aims to add over 9 million new urban jobs and keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate around 6 percent.