BEIJING — As China effectively brought the coronavirus under control and its economy emerged from decline, its labor market has recovered some lost ground and become more vibrant.

The surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.4 percent in September, 0.2 percentage points lower than in August and easing back from 6.2 percent at the beginning of 2020, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

College graduates, a key jobseeker group, hit a record 8.74 million this year, increasing the competitiveness of an already hot job market after the offline spring recruitment season was interrupted by the virus outbreak.

But the situation began to reverse in September and October, the peak season for autumn campus recruitment events.

In September, the surveyed unemployment rate among junior college diploma and higher degree recipients aged between 20 and 24 — the majority of new college graduates — registered a notable 2.4 percentage point contraction from the previous month, according to NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua.

Pro-job policies

In this year’s government work report, China vowed to prioritize stabilizing employment and ensuring living standards, aiming to add over 9 million new urban jobs and maintain the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 6 percent.

Local governments have since put job creation at the top of their work agendas, unveiling policies with solid tax and fee cuts to encourage enterprises to offer more posts.

Preferential tax and fee measures unveiled this year saved 1.17 trillion yuan (about $175.31 billion) in the first eight months, according to the State Taxation Administration.

The measures reduced the labor costs of enterprises and ensured the stability of employment, said Cai Zili, an official with the administration.

Governments have also worked with relevant departments, state-owned enterprises and public institutions to reserve positions for college graduates. Jobs have been provided for over 2.8 million graduates as of Sept 1, an increase of more than 700,000 from last year, under efforts to broaden employment channels, according to education official Wang Hui.

Vibrant labor market

As a slew of supportive measures began to take effect, China’s job market regained strength during the golden season.

A September survey conducted by, China’s leading human resources service provider, showed that 42.6 percent of enterprises with recruitment plans saw a year-on-year increase in hiring.

Enterprises in the banking and internet sector are prominent among employers that have stepped up their recruiting plans.

China’s top five State-owned banks alone — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of Communications and the China Construction Bank — plan to hire a combined total of 60,000 graduates in their autumn campus recruitment.

Internet giant Tencent released its largest-ever recruitment plan this year, with 5,000 positions for graduates, up 42 percent from last year. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, opened 6,000 jobs for graduates in 2020, also surpassing the company’s previous level of recruitment.

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