China’s unemployment rate at 13.1% for younger labour population
This figure is the same as that in the first quarter of 2020 at the peak of the pandemic outbreak in China.
The high figure is an indication of the “continuous challenge from underemployment and pressure on the job market”, said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance.
He cited data from monthly government and third-party surveys, which showed that there is a contraction in labour measures, and companies are not keen to fill vacancies as the momentum in economic recovery has slowed down.
The resultant high competition for jobs will affect those entering the workforce or have recently entered it. Official figures have put the number of graduates entering the workforce at a record of 9.09 million, surpassing last year’s record of 8.74 million.
Even before the pandemic hit, the number of new urban jobs fell to 13.52 million in 2019, down from 13.61 million in 2018, official figures showed. Last year, as the world struggled to recover from the pandemic, just 11.86 million new urban jobs were created.
The country has plans to create 11 million new urban jobs this year, targeting an unemployment rate of 5.5%.
Premier Li Keqiang has said there is “mounting” pressure on ensuring people have jobs. China’s economy grew 2.3% in 2020, and authorities have set a conservative growth target of over 6% for this year.
Instead of giving cash handouts to citizens to stimulate spending as other countries have done, China has focused on supporting businesses – and their employees – with tax cuts and cheaper loans, according to CNBC.