(Corrects day remarks were published to Monday, paras 1,4)
BEIJING Nov 5 China needs to sustain economic
growth of 7.2 percent to ensure a stable job market, Premier Li
Keqiang said in remarks published on Monday, one of the few
times a top official has stated the minimum level of growth
needed for employment.
Official calculation showed the world's second-largest
economy needs to grow at a rate of 7.2 percent annually to
ensure 10 million jobs are being created each year, Li was
quoted by the Workers' Daily as saying. This would cap the urban
unemployment rate at around 4 percent, he said.
"We want to stabilise economic growth because we need to
guarantee employment essentially," Li said at a national
workers' meeting two weeks ago.
His remarks were published in full for the first time on
The government has said the slowdown has been partly
engineered to make room for retooling the economy to ensure
future growth is cleaner, more sustainable, less dependent on
heavy investment and more reliant on consumption.
China's economy is set to grow at its slackest pace in 23
years this year, at 7.5 percent, as its export sales falter on
fragile global demand.
Li reiterated that the 7.5 percent growth target for 2013
remains intact, but noted that weak exports sales were a risk.
"If the exports drop sharply, it would bring employment
problem," Li said.
Exports can directly create about 30 million jobs and add
another 100 million jobs in other related industries, Li said,
adding that every one percentage point in economic growth can
create 1.3 million or even 1.5 million jobs.
Li's comments came as China's leaders prepare to meet from
Nov. 9 to Nov 12 at key plenum that will discuss deepening
Known as the third plenum, it marks the third time that
China's 200-member Central Committee has gathered since last
year's leadership change. Such meetings have historically been a
springboard for change.
No details have been given on what changes will be pursued
and in what manner, although Yu Zhengsheng, the fourth-ranked
member of China's elite Communist Party Politburo Standing
Committee, has said the plenum will unveil "unprecedented"
People familiar with discussions said last month, however,
that of a long list of proposed changes, only financial reforms
had garnered enough support to warrant a roadmap.
More controversial changes such as those tied to the fiscal
system and land and residency registration have been major
sticking points. Political reform is also not expected to be
discussed much at the meeting.
(Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Jeremy