Around 5 percent—this is the GDP growth target set by the government work report delivered at the opening meeting of the First Session of the 14th National People's Congress on March 5. The report also proposed targets of creating 12 million new urban jobs, maintaining the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 5.5 percent and keeping the growth of the consumer price index at around 3 percent.
The projected target, higher than last year's GDP growth of 3 percent, is roughly on par with the country's average growth rate over the past five years, which stood at 5.2 percent. To complete the goals put forward in the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, a major policy document explaining China's strategic intentions, specifying the government's priorities and guiding plus regulating market entities, China must maintain a reasonable growth rate and prevent risks at the same time.
The annual GDP growth target should be set in line with the specific situation each year and focus on achieving sustainable, healthy economic
development with improved quality and efficiency. The 5-percent target for 2023 is consistent with China's growth potential and means to ensure a stable economic performance and help create adequate employment opportunities. It is neither too fast nor too slow.
Since China adjusted its COVID-19 response policies in December last year, the Chinese economy has been ridding itself of the pandemic impact. Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that in January, the purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector bounced back to 50.1, above the 50-point mark, which represents expansion. Building on this positive momentum, China is set to meet its annual target.
The international community is also confident about China's growth. In its latest World Economic Outlook report, published on January 31, the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for the country's economic growth in 2023 to 5.2 percent, 0.8 percentage points higher than its forecast in October last year. This projection is higher than that of most other major economies, a sign China will continue to serve as a powerhouse in the global economy.