China is struggling to cope with a rise in unemployment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with payment of benefits stalling and questions being raised about the real number of jobless in the country, reported the Financial Times.
The Chinese economy has been pummeled by the health crisis, with gross domestic product falling 6.8% in the first quarter, after a national lockdown brought the country to a standstill. Beijing has lifted restrictions on most regions in a bid to restart the economy. But some analysts say the country’s social safety net is not supporting the unemployed.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said last week that 2.3 million people received jobless benefits in the first quarter of this year, the same as the previous quarter. Yet the nation’s official unemployment rate rose to 5.9%, or 26 million, in March from 5.2%, or 23 million, in December. “Job positions may fall another 10-15% without policy intervention,” said Lu Zhuang Bo, an economist at TS Lombard, the research group, said the real jobless population could be more than double the official number if the 50 million migrant workers unable to find jobs outside their home province were included.