China's urban unemployment improves but is still under pressure


China's urban surveyed unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in June, down 0.2 percentage points compared with May, with analysts saying the domestic employment rate is recovering step by step but still in grave difficulties.  

A man browses through wanted ads at an employment market in Qingdao, 

East China's Shandong Province on April 8.

In the first half of the year, newly employed people in urban areas totaled 5.64 million which accounts for 62.7 percent of the whole year target, but down 1.73 million compared with the same period last year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday. 

Among laborers aged 25 to 29 years old, the urban surveyed unemployment rate remained at 5.2 percent, lower than the national level.

"The statistics showed China's employment rate is recovering gradually as a good number of laborers, especially migrant workers, are able to work after COVID-19 eased and lockdown measures ended in China," Liu Dawei, a professor at the East China Normal University, told Global Times on Thursday. 

The service sector is just beginning to recover, after China allowed inter-provincial travel within the country, which may benefit the hotel and catering industries soon and revitalize employment in these areas, Liu noted. 

However, he warned that some manufacturing firms have not resumed production and recovered to the levels seen a year earlier, resulting in unemployment for some workers. 

By the end of the second quarter, the total number of migrant laborers reached 177.52 million, decreasing 2.7 percent year-on-year, official data showed. 

What concerned Liu the most is college graduates, who are facing the most difficult year of job hunting as a record 8.74 million graduates are entering the job market this year.

"In the past year, as of mid-July, about 80 to 90 percent of college graduates at most of China's universities were able to get a job offer, but now I assume the ratio is under 60 percent," Liu said, even if many universities are hiring graduates to become associate researchers. 

In June, the surveyed unemployment rate among people with a college degree and above aged 20 to 24 years old, who are mainly new graduates, hit as high as 19.3 percent, up 2.1 percentage points on May and up 3.9 percentage points on last June, NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua told a press conference on Thursday. 

"Generally, China's employment situation has seen positive changes, but on the other hand we are seeing significant groups facing huge pressure in terms of employment," Liu Aihua summarized. 

She highlighted that stabilizing market entities and thoroughly implementing relevant tax exemption policies would help companies get over the difficulties in order to stabilize the job market. She also encouraged the promotion of job hunting for graduates, such as by enlarging Master student enrollment. 

According to a report on China's employment in the second quarter sent by Zhilian Zhaopin, one of China's biggest employment portals, to Global Times, the recruitment demand from April to June increased month-by-month and the number of job applicants decreased month-by-month thanks to the nation's favorable employment stabilizing polices. 

China's GDP grew 3.2 percent in second quarter, reversing from a 6.8-percent contraction in the first quarter, a sign of the resilience deeply rooted in China's economy amid a global freefall when the coronavirus pandemic has plunged most major economies into a near standstill. This situation caused China's GDP to contract 1.6 percent in the first half of the year for the first time in nearly three decades, battered by COVID-19 headwinds. 

Source: Global Times


East China Normal University