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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

China growth edges up in possible sign of recovery

Published:   |   Updated: July 16, 2014 at 02:31 AM

BEIJING (AP) China's economic growth edged up in the latest quarter, easing pressure on communist leaders to avoid job losses as they try to steer the country to a more sustainable expansion.

Economic growth rose to 7.5 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in June from the previous quarter's 7.4 percent, data showed Wednesday. The previous quarter matched a downturn in late 2012 for the slowest rate since the 2008 global crisis.

Communist leaders are trying to steer China toward growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment. But the unexpectedly sharp slowdown raised fears of politically dangerous job losses.

Beijing responded by launching a series of mini-stimulus measures based on higher spending on construction of railways and other public works.

"In the first half of the year, economic growth was stable. Employment was stable," said a government spokesman, Sheng Laiyun.

The economy generated a relatively healthy 7.4 million new jobs in the first half, according to Sheng.

The latest growth was in line with the ruling Communist Party's 7.5 percent target for the year.

Analysts say Chinese leaders are willing to accept growth below the official target so long as the economy generates enough new jobs to prevent unrest.

Consumer spending rose 12.1 percent over a year earlier in the quarter ending in June, though that was down 0.3 percentage points from the previous quarter's growth, according to Sheng. He said investment in factories, real estate and other fixed assets rose 17.3 percent.