Chinese premier warns slowing growth raises job concerns

PHOTO: Chinese premier warns slowing growth raises job concerns

BEIJING - China's slowing growth poses a major challenge to job creation for the world's most populous nation and the country will need to achieve a "golden" balance between structural adjustment and growth, Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying on Sunday.

China's economy is set to grow at its slackest pace in 23 years in 2013, at 7.5 per cent, as its export sales falter on fragile global demand.

The country's leaders have pledged deep economic reforms to shift away from an export-led economy to one more reliant on domestic consumption, while making it clear they will accept lower growth rates during the transformation. But Li said such a path would present challenges.

"China has already entered a new stage of development. To maintain a growth rate as rapid as in the past is not realistic, but development is the foundation to solving many problems,"state media quoted Li as telling a recent meeting with business leaders.

"As a big country with 1.3 billion people, there is no certain pace of development that can cope with so many difficulties and problems, especially preserving jobs."

The premier added that China would need to find a "golden balancing point" between upgrading the economy and maintaining a reasonable growth rate to ensure further job creation.

China's leaders gather from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12 at a Communist Party plenum to discuss deepening reforms of the world's second largest economy.

Li told Chinese and foreign business leaders last week that China would further reform its government finances, financial markets and industry, among other areas.