BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China's employment remained stable despite a higher jobless rate in January and February, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.1 percent in January and 5.3 percent in February, up 0.1 percentage points and 0.3 percentage points year on year, respectively, and higher than the 4.9-percent level recorded in December, the NBS data showed.
The levels remained below the around-5.5 percent target set by the government for 2019, with employment expected to improve in the coming months, according to Li Xiru, head of the department of population and employment at the NBS.
In an NBS statement, Li attributed the higher rate to reduced jobs at some export firms due to weakening external demand and seasonal disruptions around the Spring Festival, which fell on Feb. 5.
"Many Chinese workers, especially migrant workers, quit their jobs before the festival and now seek new jobs. This often bringing the jobless rate higher during the period," Li said.
Most companies had their job positions refilled normally after the festival, as shown by an NBS survey in 22 provincial regions, reflecting overall stability in the job market.
Meanwhile, 1.74 million new jobs were created in cities in January and February, a relatively high level, according to Li.
As government supportive measures come into force and the seasonal effect phases out, the employment situation will improve in future, the official predicted.
Policy makers have taken an array of measures to ensure a stable job market, including insurance payment rebate for employers, government subsidies on skills training, and bigger tax cuts. Favorable policies were also given to people setting up their own businesses.