BEIJING, Jan 10 (Reuters) - China created 12.06 million new urban jobs in 2022, achieving the government's annual target despite the COVID hit to economic growth, state media Xinhua reported late Monday, citing the minister of human resources.
That compared with the 12.69 million urban jobs created in 2021, 11.86 million in 2020 and 13.52 million in pre-COVID 2019.
Policymakers have pledged repeatedly to prioritise job market stabilisation, adding it is the key support for the economy to operate within a reasonable range, as anti-virus measures hit manufacturing and service sector businesses.
In the face of the slowing growth, frequent and widespread COVID-19 outbreaks as well as changing and complex external environment, China's employment has kept overall stable and such results are "hard-won", Wang Xiaoping, head of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said in an interview with Xinhua.
Wang expected China's job market to remain generally stable in 2023, but "stabilising job employment still faces many challenges."
China will step up support to services businesses and small firms as they are the mainstay of the job sources, Xinhua said.
The country will have 11.58 million college graduates joining the job market in 2023, a record, said Wang, noting help for young people to find jobs would be a priority.
The survey-based jobless rate across the country was 5.7% in November 2022 while the rate for people aged between 16- and 24-years old was 17.1% in the same month.
China's economic growth was just 3% in the first three quarters of 2022 and is expected to stay around that rate for the full year, one of its worst years in almost half a century.
Reporting by Ellen Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes