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    China’s Goals for 2024: 5% Growth, 12 Million New Jobs

    China’s top political event of the year, the “two sessions,” which sets the government’s economic and social agenda, began Monday.
    Mar 05, 2024#politics#policy

    China aims to bolster its economy with a growth target of around 5% and create over 12 million new urban jobs this year, Premier Li Qiang announced Tuesday in Beijing.

    He was speaking at the opening session of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, which meets once a year as part of the annual “two sessions.” The crucial series of gatherings, known as lianghui in Chinese, also includes the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and signals the nation’s economic, social, and political strategies for the year ahead.

    China’s economy is on the rebound, with a gross domestic product surpassing 126 trillion yuan ($17.5 trillion) and a growth rate of 5.2% in 2023, Premier Li stated.

    In response to hiring pressures, Premier Li, delivering his inaugural work report, stated that the country generated 12.4 million urban jobs in 2023, maintaining an average unemployment rate of 5.2%. He also underscored that the government aims to create over 12 million new jobs this year.

    Zhang Bochao, an associate researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Economics, emphasized that the targets reflect a commitment to progress and stability.

    “Given the challenges to expanding employment and enhancing household incomes, reaching these objectives necessitates a careful balance between emerging industries and transitioning existing sectors to new economic growth engines, all while deepening reforms,” Zhang told Sixth Tone.

    In his work report, Premier Li stated that the economy still faced domestic and international challenges but asserted that “the basic trend of economic recovery and long-term improvement has not changed and will not change.”

    Underlining the importance of widespread collaboration, Li emphasized: “Achieving this year’s expected goals will not be an easy task, and requires focused policy efforts, doubled work efforts, and all parties to work together.”

    China has already initiated a series of measures to meet its objectives, particularly toward promoting a “national unified market.” This strategy aims to standardize the domestic market and encourage internal circulation, according to Zhou Ting, an associate researcher at the Institute of Economics, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

    “The national unified market has played a positive role in stabilizing development expectations,” Zhou told Sixth Tone. “It has addressed key issues of local protectionism and market fragmentation, facilitating substantial advancements in market interconnectivity.”

    According to her, China is also pursuing a strategy of high-standard opening-up, focused on collaborative development and enhancing the well-being of its citizens.

    Premier Li also committed to increasing domestic demand and fostering consistent growth in consumer spending with a year-long program designed to stimulate consumption.

    Highlighting China’s technological progress in 2023, Li pointed to the domestically built C919 passenger jet, which began commercial operations, the introduction of the country’s first domestically produced large-scale cruise ships, and the strong performance of China’s electric vehicle industry, which now accounts for 60% of global sales.

    (Header image: VCG)