Beijing: China will lay off a total of 1.8 million redundant workers in the country's key coal and steel sectors as part of efforts to reduce industrial overcapacity, in the world's second largest economy, a senior minister said today.
The Chinese Central government would provide 100 billion yuan (over USD 15 billion) for redundant workers as a result, adding that he was "confident" of a smooth transition, Minister of Human Resource and Social Security Yin Weimin said.
He was confident of keeping overall employment stable this year despite downward pressure on the economy. No time frame was given for when the 1.8 million workers would be let go, South China Morning Post reported today.
Earlier this month, a Chinese Cabinet plan said China will not approve any new coal production capacity over the next three years, and will remove about 500 million tonnes of production capacity within three to five years, squeezing "zombie" coal firms from the market.
In 2015, China recorded a consecutive drop in coal use for a second year, with coal consumption down by 3.7 per cent, official data shows.
China created 13.12 million urban jobs last year, exceeding the government target of 10 million, while the urban employment rate stood at 4.05 per cent, Yin said.
Since 2013, China has created more than 13 million jobs annually, although the 2015 figure was 0.8 per cent less than that of the previous year.
Also, coal consumption fell for the second year in a row, government data showed, as the world's biggest polluter attempts to tackle chronic pollution that accompanied economic growth.
Coal use fell 3.7 per cent last year compared to 2014 levels, according to a report from China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The drop follows a 2.9 per cent decrease in 2014.
China's consumption of the fuel doubled in the decade to 2014, reaching more than four billion tonnes a year.