Youth unemployment in China is nearly 20%

Washington – 1999, 1 million graduates from university in ChinaWe achieved a record 10.7 million new graduates this year. entered the Chinese job market.

According to official data, many of them are having trouble finding work.

China’s youth unemployment rate reached 19.9% ​​in July, according to the latest data released by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.that is highest rate Since Beijing began publishing the index in January 2018, the rate has fallen to a low 9.6%.

The unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds rose in July from a record high of 19.3% in June, largely due to the economic recession China has experienced over the past few years, multiple sources said. China analyst told VOA Mandarin. that recession It is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and Beijing’s stringent containment restrictions, including a ‘zero COVID’ policy that has cut exports and consumer spending.

“They’re reaping what they’re sowing now, and what they’ve sown in the last two years hasn’t been great for the job market. young china groupis a consulting firm that conducts market research on Chinese youth.

Dorothy Solinger, professor emeritus at the University of California, Irvine, who studies China’s unemployment problem, said the market may be discouraging new graduates and other job seekers more than official statistics suggest. .

Solinger told VOA Mandarin that China’s “unemployment statistics are notoriously wrong.” “I’m surprised they’re announcing this high now, but I think it could be higher.”

The World Bank expects China’s economic growth to slow to 4.3% in 2022, down 0.8%, due to prolonged pandemic lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing from March to May. than the original December estimate.

Liu Pengyu, spokesman for China’s embassy in Washington, D.C., said in an email that the pandemic “has made production and operations difficult and reduced its ability to attract jobs.”

“The overall employment situation will gradually improve and remain stable as the economy recovers and policies to stabilize employment are strengthened, especially those that help young people find employment,” he said. added.

The pandemic isn’t the only cause, Dichtwald told VOA Mandarin. The problem of general unemployment has been on Beijing’s radar for decades.

“For many years, one of China’s biggest problems was creating enough jobs for young people in its educated class,” Dychtwald said in an interview. It’s always been hard to catch up, especially over the last five to 10 years.”

FILE – Commuters take the subway during the morning rush hour in the central business district of Beijing, August 9, 2022.

Unemployment is a long-standing problem in China, but that doesn’t mean the current unemployment rate isn’t a problem. On the contrary, an expert told VOA Mandarin, in particular, that the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is approaching autumn. Economic Impact of the Pandemic, bank scandal caused a backlash and forced some homeowners to stop paying a mortgage in protest.

Chinese people probably want Xi to do more to address the unemployment crisis, especially ahead of the next Congress, according to Li Zhang, founder of the New York-based NGO China Labor Watch. will ask you to do

“This data may give him a wake-up call. This road will be very difficult and it will also affect the political stability of the country,” Qiang told VOA Mandarin.

Or, as Dichtwald put it, “If the government does not deal with [unemployment]Then, politically, it could become a gunpowder keg.”

According to experts interviewed by VOA, the Chinese government has long maintained policies and programs that stimulate economic and employment expansion, and much CCP rhetoric and art praise workers and workers. His 2021 article in the state-run Xinhua News Agency said, “Only hard work brings happiness.”

In January, Xi wrote Qiushi, the official magazine of the Chinese Communist Party No matter how much China develops, the country must “avoid the trap of welfarism that breeds laziness.”

Manfred Elfström is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, whose research focuses on China, social movements, labor and authoritarianism. For him, Xi’s article suggests that the high youth unemployment rate facing China is a major concern for the CCP.

“If people are critical of being ‘lazy’ and dependent on the government, they are also feeling the pressure to provide employment opportunities,” he told VOA Mandarin.

But the Chinese Communist Party is not the only one feeling the pressure. One of the most important factors affecting China’s younger generation is the “pressure to get ahead,” said Dichtwald, who wants to excel in school, get a well-paying job, and get married. He referred to the “great” social and familial expectations of owning property as a “Pressure is the defining word.”

With the Chinese Communist Party establishing itself as the protector of the country and its people, it is more or less expected that the government will create an environment in which people can find jobs, experts including Dichtwald say. The realization that Beijing may not be at the end of negotiations causes frustration and disillusionment, especially among the country’s youth.

The culture of overwork that has taken hold in China is common in other countries like Singapore and South Korea, says Dychtwald. 2021 “Lie Down” Movement.

The movement urges young people to “opt out of the struggle for success in the workplace and reject promises of consumer satisfaction.” According to a 2021 Brookings Institution report. Youth unemployment in China is nearly 20%

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