III. The principle of shared development has taken root in the hearts of the people, while living standards have constantly improved.
In assessing economic development, we should not only look at size and growth rate, but also understand to what extent it gives ordinary people a sense of fulfillment. At the same time as promoting economic development, China has also upheld the principle of people-centered development, which begins with resolving the problems of most dire, direct, and practical concern to the people. We have actively expanded employment and provided employment services, adopted a combination of measures to increase personal incomes, stabilized market prices, and carried out pollution prevention and control, which has all brought more benefits to the people and constantly bolstered their sense of gain, happiness, and security.
1. Employment remained basically stable.
This year, we have persevered in implementing the employment-first policy, and made concrete efforts to boost employment and business startups for key groups such as university graduates, rural migrant workers, and demobilized military personnel. Throughout the process of adjustment and optimization of the industrial structure, we provided stable employment subsidies for enterprises that took effective measures to avoid or minimize layoffs. We also allocated 100 billion yuan from the surplus in unemployment insurance funds to implement a vocational skill building initiative, and carried out large-scale vocational skill training, thereby ensuring overall stability in employment. In the first half of this year, 7.37 million urban jobs were created across the country, already reaching 67% of the annual target. The survey-based urban unemployment rate both nationally and across 31 major cities remained stable at around 5%, lower than the projected target of 5.5%. Employment is the foundation of public wellbeing; stability in employment, personal income, and public morale is conducive to the growth of consumption and the economy, and creates favorable conditions for overall social harmony and stability.
2. Personal incomes grew in tandem with the economy.
Constantly expanding employment, continuously investing in public wellbeing, and implementing special additional deductions for individual income tax have all served to increase personal incomes. In the first half of this year, the national per capita disposable income increased 8.8% year-on-year in nominal terms, or 6.5% in real terms after adjusting for inflation, thus exceeding the GDP growth rate by 0.2 percentage points. We achieved basically simultaneous personal income and GDP growth, providing income security and thus improving people’s lives. Stable employment guaranteed the increase of salary-based personal incomes, and national per capita salary-based incomes saw a year-on-year increase of 8.7% in nominal terms. Positive conditions in agricultural production and large-scale tax and fee cuts provided favorable terms for the growth of net operating incomes of urban and rural residents, leading to a year-on-year increase of 8.9% in national per capita net operating incomes in nominal terms, or a year-on-year increase of 1.9 percentage points. Meanwhile, we continued to see results in poverty alleviation through the development of industry, education, and employment. The per capita disposable incomes of rural residents in areas with a relatively large poor population, such as Tibet, Qinghai, and Guizhou, increased by 12.5%, 10.4%, and 10.3% year-on-year respectively in nominal terms, exceeding the national rural growth rate.
3. Market prices rose moderately.
Market supply was abundant overall, and supply and demand were basically in balance. In the first half of this year, the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 2.2% year-on-year, lower than the projected 3% increase, while core CPI (excluding food and energy prices) rose 1.8%. Market supply of manufactured goods was plentiful, with prices in this category either showing weak growth or in decline. The price of shoes increased by 1.1% year-on-year, while household appliance and vehicle prices decreased by 0.2% and 1.7% respectively. Market supply of services steadily increased, and service consumption rose to meet consumer demand. Service prices increased by 2% year-on-year, while communications services saw a price drop of 1.2%. Food prices increased more rapidly due to the rising prices of fresh fruit and pork, although most foods only saw moderate price increases as supply was adequate. Grain prices rose by 0.5% year-on-year, while the prices of aquatic products decreased by 1.1%.
4. There was continued improvement of the environment.
We launched seven key campaigns in pollution prevention and control, gradually implemented the Three-year Action Plan for Keeping Our Skies Blue, continued to promote enforcement inspection of the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, and continued the fight to clean up our soil, so that our people may enjoy blue skies, clear waters, and lush mountains. In the first half of this year, the average proportion of days with good air quality in 337 cities at or above the prefecture level was 80.1%, up 0.4 percentage points year-on-year; PM2.5 concentration was 40 micrograms per cubic meter, down by 2.4%; there were 142 cities that met the required air quality standard, a year-on-year increase of 20; the proportion of the 1,940 surface water body sections under the national monitoring program that met good water quality standards (Grade I-III) was 4.4 percentage points higher year-on-year.