BEIJING China's job market could turn for the worse and the government needs to step up efforts to create more jobs, Premier Wen Jiabao said in remarks published on Wednesday, underscoring official concerns about an economic slowdown.
"Currently and in the future, China's employment situation will become more complex and more severe," the official China Securities Journal quoted Wen as saying.
"The task of promoting full employment will be very heavy and we must make greater efforts to achieve it," he added.
Compared with 2008/09 when a sudden collapse of exports sent some 20 million Chinese migrant workers homebound, China's job market has remained relatively tight so far this year, partly reflecting the country's demographic shifts.
But job cuts could be on the rise as small- and mid-sized exporters are increasingly struggling with slackening orders, rapid wage increases and higher raw material costs.
Many college graduates are struggling to find jobs.
Maintaining social stability is crucial for Beijing as the country heads into a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.
Wen called for all levels of government to give top priority to job creation when they formulate economic plans and more jobs should be created during the process of economic restructuring and urbanization.
"We need to maintain steady and relatively fast economic growth to help create jobs," Wen said.
A parliamentary meeting on Tuesday concluded that China's economic recovery is not solid, and that Beijing needs to boost investment to bolster flagging economic growth but spending must be adjusted to avoid waste.
China's annual economic growth slowed to 7.6 percent in the second quarter, just above the government's 7.5 percent full year target and the weakest quarter since Q1 2009 when the global financial crisis choked world trade flows and saw 20 million Chinese jobs axed in a matter of months.
(Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)