BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday called for more efforts to expand employment, urging authorities at all levels to prioritize job creation.
Wen made the remarks at a national conference held in the Great Hall of the People to honor collectives and individuals that have made great contributions in boosting the country's employment.
Saying that expanding employment is the top priority in ensuring and improving people's livelihoods, Wen said Communist Party of China (CPC) committees and governments at all levels should acknowledge the paramount importance of the issue.
Wen said the employment situation has essentially been stable, citing 98 million jobs created in urban areas from 2003 to 2011.
However, the premier said the nation will face a more complex and difficult employment situation in the period ahead, which will require the government to make more efforts to boost employment.
Wen called for local authorities to implement more proactive employment policies and give more priority to job creation when making national economic development programs and adjusting industrial structuring and layout.
Local authorities should also seek opportunities to boost jobs during the transformation of the country's economic growth mode and promote industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, Wen said.
Local authorities should make efforts to create more jobs for college graduates, migrant workers, women, minorities and disabled people, Wen said.
Local authorities should implement support policies to reduce burdens for medium- and small-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are a major force in expanding employment, Wen said.
SMEs provide over 80 percent of the nation's jobs.