China's Premier Wen Jiabao warned Tuesday the country was facing a more "severe" employment situation as the world's second-largest economy slows.
Wen said China had created 98 million new jobs between 2003 to 2011 but would now have to work harder to find jobs for its growing workforce, particularly its 250 million migrant workers and 40 million college graduates.
"From now on, the country's employment situation will become more complicated and severe. Achieving full employment is a very difficult process, but we must work harder," he said in a statement posted on the government website.
"To increase employment is to improve people's lives by making them more secure, and it is considered a top priority for the party committee and all levels of government."
Wen's comments came hours after China said foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by three percent in the first half of the year as the global economic slowdown hit.
China's growth slowed to 7.6 percent year on year in the second quarter of 2012, the slowest pace in more than three years.
"We should support development of small companies and actively promote entrepreneurialism to support the job market," Wen said.
"Small companies, particularly micro-enterprises, are the main drivers for job creation. We should try to reduce the burden on enterprises through support policies which create a better environment for them to develop."