China's employment situation improves in June, policy supports weigh in for youngsters
Published: Jul 15, 2022 04:05 PM
A student (right) asks questions at a job fair in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi Province on October 23, 2021.About 10.76 million college graduates in China are estimated to enter the job market in 2022.Photo:cnsphoto

A job fair in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi Province Photo:cnsphoto

China's employment situation sees a gradual improvement, with urban surveyed unemployment rate falling for three consecutive months from 6.1 percent in April to 5.9 percent in May and 5.5 percent in June, China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday, a trend that comes with the easing epidemic situation, business resumption and policy support; Meanwhile, problem remains as more supportive policies are needed in easing historic job pressure for youngsters.

In the first half of the year, the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas nationwide averaged 5.7 percent, and the average in the second quarter was 5.8 percent, compared with 5.5 percent in the first quarter, maintaining relatively steady and average terms, despite the epidemic situation and global trade hurdles. Among them, the national urban surveyed unemployment rate in April, May, and June fell to a low 5.5 percent in a row, latest data from the NBS' report shows.

From January to June, 6.54 million new jobs were created in cities and towns across the country, completing 59 percent of the annual target of up to 11 million, basically in line with the time series.

"The drop in unemployment rate came as the business recovery of the service industry, a pillar in job recruitment, slowly picked up after the epidemic largely waned," a professor at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies of the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Friday.

In the first half of the year, the added value of the service industry increased by 1.8 percent year-on-year, data from the NBS on Friday shows.

However, pressure for the job market persists, especially the challenges for the younger generations, with the unemployment rate of urban youth aged 16-24 reaching a historic 19.3 percent high in June, compared with 15.4 percent the same period last year, which experts said is due to mixed factors including the slow recovery of the service industry, unbalanced demand and supply in the job market, the seasonal job-hunting and other reasons.

The labor-intensive industries such as manufacturing and service industries that address the employment of many college students are still dealing with the impact of the epidemic from the past several months, Li said, responding to the high unemployment rate.

Moreover, the number of college graduates in China this year is expected to hit a record 10.76 million, an increase of 1.67 million, according to a statement from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, media reported, adding up pressure to the job market.

There were also more people looking for jobs in the second quarter, the annual graduation season, Li said.

The rising structural contradictions in employment and the shortage of high-skilled talents are also the reasons for the high unemployment rate of young people.

Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Friday that "with the explosion of digital technology in the past two years, companies are more than ever in need of compound talents and experienced people, but there are relatively few graduates with the majors that match the market demand, and most lack corresponding experience which makes it difficult for young people to find jobs."

But experts said that the high unemployment rate is measurable as China's economy is getting back on track with gradual business resumption and government policy support.

The problem of young people's employment pressure is still relatively prominent, and it is necessary to continue to do a good job in stabilizing employment, especially the employment of key groups, Fu Linghui, a spokesperson for the NBS, said on Friday, noting that the policies for employment stabilization and assistance will be further implemented.

"There will be a series of support policies in the employment guidance and transition of students to further solve this problem," Cao further noted.

If the economic situation can sustain, together with a stronger policy support, Li said that the unemployment rate will further go down to about 5.3 percent in July while that of people aged between 16 and 24 may not exceed 19 percent.