Focus topics

Every fifth young person unemployed

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  • The economic data newly issued in April illustrates the huge economic challenges China is facing: The aggregate social consumption decreased by 11% compared to the same period last year, and the industrial output decreased by 2.9%, bringing it to a record low since 1995.​
  • Employment data also looks very pessimistic amid the economic disruptions. In April 2022, China recorded an urban unemployment ratio of 6.1%, close to its historical high point. And if we look into the breakdown of unemployment by age group, it becomes even more alerting: The group aged 16-24 recorded the highest unemployment rate ever in China in April, reaching 18.2%.​
  • In contrast, other age groups (aged 25-59) had a relatively stable employment situation, recording a 5.3% unemployment rate in April 2022, which only slightly increased from previous levels.​
  • With the recent unexpected jump, China’s youth unemployment ratio has surpassed the EU average level (13.5% in March 2022).​
  • To make things worse, China will have 10.7mn new college graduates this summer, who are entering or planning to enter the job market this year, intensifying the overall job-seeking pressures.​
  • The worsening prospects of the job market are driven by China’s consistent zero-covid policies and fierce regulatory crackdowns on technology/internet platform companies, which usually offer large numbers of job opportunities for young people.​
  • If the high unemployment rate prevails, it will intensify the already high inequality in China, damaging social stability and ultimately affecting the government’s legitimacy in the long run.​

Sinolytics is a European consulting and analysis company specializing in China. It advises European companies on their strategic orientation and concrete business activities in the People’s Republic.


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