In this July 17, 2020 photo, a worker debugs a special robot at a workshop in the Tangshan Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone in Tangshan, North China's Hebei province. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

BEIJING – China's economic growth gathered steam in the first two months of 2021 and the country is confident of sustaining the current momentum.

Major economic indicators greatly improved in the period, with industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment all surging more than 30 percent, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Monday.

NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua attributed the sharp year-on-year increase in major economic indicators to the sustained economic recovery as well as a lower basis of comparison in the same period last year, when the economy was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking ahead, NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua said the foundations and conditions exist for China's economy to maintain the recovery momentum through the year

Industrial production picked up, as many Chinese people opted to stay put during the Spring Festival holiday, which fell in February this year, in response to the government's call to avoid unnecessary gatherings as part of anti-pandemic measures, according to Liu.

Many enterprises and projects have reported more working days than usual, as local governments rolled out policies to offer economic support for employees who worked during the holiday instead of returning to their hometown, said Liu at a press conference.

Looking ahead, Liu said the foundations and conditions exist for China's economy to maintain the recovery momentum through the year.

The country's confidence in dealing with various risks and challenges and sustaining economic recovery lies in its solid material foundation, a complete industrial system, a vast market and abundant human resources, said Liu.

Industrial output up 35.1%

China's value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, went up 35.1 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2021, NBS data showed.

The Jan-Feb output represented a 16.9 percent growth compared with the level in the same period of 2019, as well as annual average growth of 8.1 percent in the past two years.

On a monthly basis, China's industrial output increased 0.69 percent in February.

China's industrial output, officially called industrial value added, is used to measure the activity of designated large enterprises with an annual business turnover of at least 20 million yuan (about US$3.08 million).

In a breakdown by ownership, the output of state-controlled enterprises went up 23 percent year-on-year, that of joint-stock companies went up 34.2 percent, and that of overseas-funded enterprises increased by 41.4 percent.

The manufacturing sector reported a year-on-year increase of 39.5 percent in the first two months, the fastest among the three major sectors, which also include mining and the production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water.

High-tech manufacturing recorded a 49.2 percent growth in industrial output in the reporting period.

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Fixed-asset investment up 35%

China's fixed-asset investment (FAI) surged 35 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2021, data from the NBS showed Monday.

The FAI amounted to 4.52 trillion yuan (about US$695.3 billion) in the Jan-Feb period, up 3.5 percent from the same period in 2019, according to the NBS.

On a monthly basis, the country's FAI climbed 2.43 percent in February.

Investment by the private sector expanded 36.4 percent year-on-year to 2.62 trillion yuan in the first two months of this year, the data showed. 

READ MORE: Industrial output likely to see uptick in 2021

Retail sales up 33.8%

China's retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of consumption growth, went up 33.8 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.

Urban unemployment rate drops

China's surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent in February, 0.7 percentage points lower than the same period last year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Monday.