Reflecting widespread concern about the state of the economy, 55-year-old Beijing resident Liu Tieying told the BBC he felt the economy would be a major problem in the coming year.
But he sounded an optimistic note for China, saying he believed the situation would be worse in other countries.
The BBC's Jill McGivering says the Year of the Ox is traditionally associated with calm, fortitude and success through toil.
But she says China has already seen an outbreak of protests and rioting associated with job losses and factory closures - so one of the biggest challenges for the Communist Party will be to maintain public order and confidence in the year to come.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency announced on Monday that the government is to help train as many as one million jobless college graduates over the next three years.
Graduates will also be offered small loans to help them start their own businesses.
Analysts say the moves show the government's increasing concern with rising unemployment.
China's top politicians made high-profile trips over the Lunar New Year holiday.
State television broadcast images of Chinese President Hu Jintao smiling as a baby kissed his cheek on a visit to Jinggangshan, a former base for the communists during the Chinese civil war.
In a speech, he promised more "equal development across society".
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited survivors of last May's earthquake which devastated large parts of Sichuan province.
Chinese people in cities across the world are also marking the festival - with lanterns, incense, lion dances and firecrackers lighting up places as far apart as London, Jakarta and Vancouver.
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