Unemployment in China is on the rise despite the government having ended its strict zero-COVID restrictions in December, as the economic boost from the shift fails to reach the country’s smaller cities, reports Nikkei Aisa. New data from China’s statistics bureau shows that urban unemployment stood at 5.6% for the first two months of 2023, a slight rise of 0.2 point from a year earlier.
The figure for February alone also stood at 5.6%, up 0.1 point from January. Unemployment often rises in China around February, since many laborers switch jobs after the Lunar New Year holiday. But the year-on-year increase points to headwinds for China’s economic recovery.
Young workers bore the brunt of job losses. Unemployment among those aged 16 to 24 increased 2.8 points on the year to 18.1% in February. Notably, the rate for university graduates is 1.4 times higher than for all youth, according to the State Council’s Development Research Center, suggesting that one in four university graduates are looking for work.
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