China stops publishing youth unemployment data amid slump

Tuesday, 15 August 2023 (15:45 IST)
China's official statistics agency said on Tuesday that it had stopped publishing key unemployment figures that had previously shown the number of jobless youths in the country had reached a record high.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that starting from this month —July — it would no longer be releasing age-group-specific breakdowns of unemployment data as it reconsiders how it measures data.
In June, the rate of unemployment for urban workers aged 16 to 24 reached a record 21.3%.
China's economic figures in detail
Overall unemployment in July was at 5.3%, up 0.1 percentage points from June.
"The employment situation is generally stable," Fu Linghui, NBS spokesperson, said.
However, other key economic indicators add up to paint a less than positive picture for the world's second-largest economy.
Consumer spending grew by 2.5% over the same period last year. While growth does mean spending increased, this increase was less than in June when it reached 3.1%.
Factory output also decreased from 4.4% in July to 3.7% in June, marking a general slowdown.
The decision to no longer publish youth unemployment figures amid the downward trend was met with criticism on Chinese social media.
Chinese growth targets in question
Economic growth figures have also not been promising for China. The data for the three-month period ending in June was down to 0.8% from the 2.2% recorded in the previous period.
The equivalent annual growth rate would be 3.2% — one of China's weakest rates in decades.
Reduced demand from western economies that have been battling inflation and recession fears have had a knock-on effect in China where exports plunged by 14.5% in July.
The vast Chinese real estate sector has also hit a slump amid tighter government controls on how much debt developers can take on.
The Chinese Communist Party had set an annual growth rate of "about 5%," but there would need to be a large bounceback in the second half of the year for this target to be met.

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