BEIJING: China’s youth unemployment rate hit a record in June — marking a third consecutive month above 20% — and the government warned the situation may get even worse as new graduates start looking for work.
The jobless rate for people aged between 16 and 24 was 21.3% last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. That’s the highest on record in data that goes back to 2018, and NBS spokesman Fu Linghui said the number for July would likely be higher still.
Young people are finishing their studies and looking for jobs, adding to upward pressure on the unemployment rate, Fu told a press briefing Monday. The government has said it expects a record of nearly 12 million students to graduate from colleges and universities this year.
Youth unemployment has been at high levels for more than a year as Covid disruptions and a property slump add to existing structural problems in the labour market. The flagging recovery in the world’s second-biggest economy is now likely making employers reluctant to hire.
The youth rate continued to climb even as the national urban jobless rate remained at 5.2% over the past three months.
The central government attaches high importance to youth employment and has striven to put job creation for young people in a “more prominent position,” Fu said, adding that they were focusing their efforts on college graduates and young people starting their own businesses.
China still needs to work at stabilising the employment situation, Fu said. He added that the youth rate will likely start trending back down after August.