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China witnessing a rise in youth joblessness crisis

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 24 May 2023

China witnessing a rise in youth joblessness crisis

Representational image by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Beijing: China's youth unemployment rate has increased and the latest data shows that the jobless rate for people aged between 16 and 24 is over 20 percent now.

The national average jobless rate is just 5.2 percent, far lesser than those belonging to the specific age group of 16 to 24.

While the headline figures are nothing exceptional – the global ratio of NEETS, or “not in education, employment or training”, in the age group of 15-24 exceeded 20 per cent in 2020 – they present a particularly worrisome picture in China, given the country’s population size and unique demographic structure, reports South China Morning Post.

According to China’s official statistics, the size of its youngest labour population – defined as people born between 1999 and 2007 – is over 150 million, so 20 percent would be roughly 30 million people. The numbers do not include workers aged 15 because they are below the minimum legal work age, the newspaper reported.

A large portion of young Chinese men and women are still in school and not in the job market, but if, say, half or a third of them are unemployed, that would mean millions of Chinese households are struggling, the news report mentioned.

Those born between 1999 and 2007 in China are almost exclusively single children, thanks to the country’s ruthless one-child policy that was still in force at the time.

The only youth member of the family being unemployed will create trouble for Chinese households in future.

The disappointment experienced by unemployed youth themselves can also dampen the society’s morale.

These young people were raised being told that the sky is the limit, but the cold reality is that they cannot even find a job to support themselves, South China Morning Post.

As the youth jobless rate rises, there has been a noticeable sentiment change in Chinese society: people seem to increasingly prefer stability over possibility.

If this situation continues, it is set to cast a long shadow over the nation’s economy and demographic structure.