BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's economy is creating more than 13 million new jobs this year, the Xinhua news agency cited the labour ministry as saying on Thursday, outstripping the official target despite slower economic growth.
China added 10.82 million new jobs in the first nine months of this year, earlier government data showed, meeting the government's target.
China's reform-minded leaders have shown greater tolerance for slower growth, viewing healthy employment levels as a top policy priority and an important condition for social stability.
Any marked weakening in jobs would raise alarm bells for the government as it ratchets up efforts, including last month's interest rate cut, to support the slowing economy.
China is aiming to keep its registered urban unemployment rate below 4.6 per cent in 2014, unchanged from its target for 2013.
Many economists, however, believe the real number may be higher given difficulties in tracking the country's army of migrant workers.
China's economic growth weakened to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter, while November's soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing's 7.5 per cent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years.
Economists who advise the government have recommended that China lower its growth target to around 7 per cent in 2015.