Beijing May 16 2023: China’s youth jobless rate rose to a record 20.4% in April, showing the economy is still struggling to absorb new workers even as the overall labor force declines.
The youth unemployment rate rose from 19.6% and topped last summer’s previous record of 19.9%, even as the overall surveyed jobless rate declined to 5.2%, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
“More efforts need to be made to stabilize and expand employment for young people,” NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui said at a briefing in Beijing.
The data were among a set of disappointing figures released today showing that debt woes and a lack of private sector confidence are holding back growth. The youth unemployment figures are a big concern, because some 11.58 million students are expected to graduate from universities and colleges this year.
The rise in youth unemployment comes even after the number of working people fell by more than 41 million people over the past three years, the result of both the pandemic’s toll on the economy and the aging of China’s population.
Some 733.5 million Chinese people were employed in 2022, according to data released earlier this year by the statistics bureau. That’s down from 774.7 million in 2019.
The decline in employment over that period is almost equal to Germany’s entire workforce, which was about 44 million in 2021, according to the World Bank.