On the heels of the Chinese manufacturing sector posing its lowest reading in three years, China’s top economic planner reinforced previous forecasts and said the world’s second-biggest economy will grow between 6.5% and 7% this year.

Construction along Yangtze River
Construction along Yangtze River

Even though China’s economy will continue to experience downward pressure this year, it should be able to hit growth targets if it can generate enough jobs and maintained stable prices, Xu Shaoshi, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news conference Wednesday.

Xu said governments at all levels would work to manage unemployment and prevent it from affecting social stability.

“The central government will consider providing policies to help resolve this issue and I believe local governments are fully capable of handling the situation,” he said.

Last year, China’s economy grew 6.9%, its slowest rate in 25 years and recent data isn’t encouraging. On Monday, the official Purchasing Managers’ Index reported that manufacturing activity in January fell to 49.4, its sixth monthly contraction and the lowest reading since August 2012. A reading under 50 indicates a contraction.

The Chinese economy is slowing down as it moves away from one based on exports and building infrastructure to one based on domestic consumption.

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