Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks on Wednesday at a teleconference, Xinhua news agency reported.
This came as President Xi Jinping, who is spearheading some of China’s key policies, is being blamed for slow growth. Experts warn that this challenge could cost him as he looks to take on a controversial third term later this year.
Against this backdrop, the Chinese Premier, in the past few months, has stepped into the spotlight to urge changes that would bring the economy back on track.
Earlier this month, Keqiang had painted a grim picture of the job market in the world’s most populous nation due to COVID-19 lockdowns. He had called the employment situation “complex and grave.”
He instructed all levels of government to prioritize measures to boost jobs and maintain stability.
These measures include helping small businesses survive, supporting the internet economy, providing incentives to encourage people to start their own business, and giving unemployment benefits to laid-off workers.
His remarks come at a time when China’s jobless rate has climbed to the highest rate in almost two years, according to data from the government.
Each year, China needs to add millions of new jobs to keep the economy humming. The government has set a target of creating at least 11 million jobs in towns and cities in 2022.