A job seeker inquires at a company's booth at a job fair in Yichang, Hubei province, on Jan 2, 2021. [Photo by Wang Jianfeng/for China Daily] Unemployment rate in urban areas is well under control in spite of pandemic The nation's job market is expected to remain stable this year though uncertainties brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic will continue to pose challenges. Despite facing tremendous pressure last year, domestic employment displayed a robust recovery. There were about 11.9 million new jobs created in urban areas throughout the whole year, outperforming the original target of 9 million, senior officials at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said on Friday. The surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas is also well under control after it peaked at a high of 6.2 percent in February 2020. According to the ministry, the urban surveyed unemployment rate was 5.2 percent in December and the average rate for 2020 remained at around 5.6 percent. Employment of some key groups such as college graduates and migrant workers, some of the most vulnerable amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, was also secured last year. Figures provided by the ministry showed that by the end of 2020, more than 90 percent of recent college graduates－about 7.9 million out of the total 8.74 million last year－had already landed jobs. Also, about 98 percent of migrant workers had returned to their jobs since the end of last year thanks to combined measures to help them get back to workplaces amid the pandemic. "The unexpected novel coronavirus pandemic paused the economy in early 2020, which then hit the job market hard, causing the unemployment rate to climb and the population of laid-off workers to increase. Thankfully, the landscape has been stabilized with support from the central government and endeavors by industries," said Zhang Jinan, minister of human resources and social security. As to the job market outlook, Zhang said it will continue to stabilize with a recovering economy. However, the overall picture of employment will remain complex as the number of job seekers this year is on the rise. "There are about 15 million people yet to find jobs in urban areas this year. Structural imbalances between job supply and demand relative to skill levels and uncertainties due to the pandemic also present challenges," he said. "For example, some sectors such as manufacturing face shortages in skilled labor, and skilled workers often have at least two vacancies to choose from," he added. To improve the job market, the ministry has launched a series of policies. "College graduates take the majority of the newly added positions, roughly 60 percent, in addition to those from vocational schools and high schools," said Li Zhong, vice-minister of human resources and social security. He said that the ministry plans to provide job opportunities to recent college graduates and also encourage them to start their own businesses by sponsoring lectures and offering assistance. Sun Chenjun, 21, a senior at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, said that he has two options available when he graduates in June. "My father introduced me to a job in my hometown of Dalian, Liaoning province, where I interned for two months last summer, but it is not my first choice," he said. "I also have a plan to start an online shop, kind of an entrepreneurship. I'm now gathering information on policies for starting a new business. I promised my family that I would give myself three years to run the online business, so I hope I can succeed." Highlights Over 11.9 million new jobs were created in urban areas. Some 32.4 million formerly impoverished people found jobs, up 10 percent year-on-year. Revenue from nationwide pension funds was 5.02 trillion yuan. Attendance in vocational training courses exceeded 27 million.