Emerging industries, especially the Web-based service sector, have emerged as the new engine to create jobs in China, a senior human resources official said on Thursday.
These industries are relieving the pressure on employment brought by the economic slowdown, according to the official.
The nation's ongoing reform from an investment-driven to a consumption-led economy and its efforts to upgrade the industrial structure has unleashed new growth engines, Yin Chengji, spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, told a news conference in Beijing.
"Tertiary industries have been growing rapidly in China and the modern service industry, including the Web-based service sector, has played an increasingly important role in boosting employment," he said.
In the first half of this year, 7.25 million new jobs were created in China's urban areas, a year-on-year rise of 310,000, statistics from the ministry show.
Meanwhile, China's GDP growth dropped to 7.6 percent in the first half of the year, compared with 7.8 percent in 2012.
Yin attributes the growth in jobs amid the economic slowdown to the central government's "consistent" efforts to implement favorable policies for the employment of college graduates, surplus rural laborers, retired soldiers and the urban poor.
"However, we realize the employment situation will be harsh in the long run," said Yin, adding that unemployment, caused by an imbalance between demand and supply in the labor market, will remain a problem.
Registered unemployment in urban areas stood at 4.1 percent by the end of the second quarter, according to the ministry's statistics.
A report recently released by 51job, China's leading employment website, indicates that the economic slowdown has not dented employers' enthusiasm for recruitment.
The report, which polled about 22,000 employers, showed that nearly 80 percent of respondents said they will have more recruitment opportunities in the third quarter of 2013 than the same period last year.
Among the employers who will hire more people, half said they will do so because their business has grown, 30 percent will do so due to resignations, and the remainder to accumulate talent, the report said.
Feng Lijuan, a human resources expert with 51job, said there is a growing demand for labor in the Web-based service sector, especially in e-commerce customer service.
"Our website has posted more than 2.6 million job opportunities in terms of e-commerce customer service, which accounts for 5 percent of our total," she said.
"Many traditional industries, including food and clothing, have turned to the Internet for marketing, which brings a series of adjustments in service provision, so the Web-based service industry definitely has a bright future."
Ella Sun, who previously worked in the department providing services for major companies at Zhaopin.com, one of China's largest providers of human resources services, said she doubts Web-based service providers can become the new engine for absorbing the labor force as most of them are in the initial stages.
"I used to have business contacts with some Web-based service providers, including online advertising and gaming companies, and their development outlook is not so optimistic," she said, adding that large IT companies have also suffered from the global economic downturn.