Multiple channels will be used to achieve stable and expanding employment this year, Premier Li Keqiang said in delivering the Government Work Report at the opening of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress on Tuesday.
The goals the central government has set for employment in 2019 are unchanged from last year - creating more than 11 million urban jobs, keeping the surveyed urban unemployment rate around 5.5 percent and capping the registered urban unemployment rate below 4.5 percent.
The first rate is based on surveys, while the registered rate is based on self-reporting to government agencies.
Last year, by taking prompt steps to ease the impact of changes in the external environment on employment, China created 13.61 million urban jobs and kept the surveyed unemployment rate around 5 percent - a relatively low level, Li said.
This year, the central government will work to ensure employment for key groups, such as college graduates, demobilized soldiers and migrant workers, and will give stronger support to urban job seekers facing difficulties in landing jobs, he said.
"Enterprises hiring impoverished rural people or urban residents who registered as unemployed for at least six months will be given a fixed amount of tax and fee deductions for three years," he said.
Taking employment as the foundation of people's well-being and the source of wealth, Li said, the government has raised the status of the employment-first policy to a macro policy for the first time, in hopes of drawing the attention of society to employment and supporting it.
For the time being and for some time to come, the pressure on job creation will continue unabated, the structural issues in employment will become more apparent and new factors affecting job markets will continue to grow.
Against such a backdrop, Li said, the government will increase support for flexible employment and new forms of employment, work to end gender and identity discrimination in employment and develop vocational education as ways to ease pressure on people.
"Examinations and enrollment by vocational colleges will be reformed and improved to encourage more high school graduates, demobilized soldiers, laid-off workers and migrant workers to apply," he said, adding that enrollment in vocational colleges in 2019 will increase by 1 million.
Zhang Yongli, president of Western Mining Group Co and an NPC deputy, said: "Employment acts as a stabilizer for society when the economy slows down and restructures."
The goal is to vitalize small and medium-sized enterprises, reduce their burden and support their development, as stable development of enterprises helps boost employment, he said.