Jobs stable in May, but youth still struggling

2023-06-16 10:36:08China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Unemployment rate of those age 16 to 24 was 20.8 percent last month

The unemployment rate remained stable in May, hovering around 5 percent, but younger job seekers still face a tough outlook with structural imbalances in the job market.

The latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas was 5.2 percent in May, the same as in April. The surveyed unemployment rate in the nation's 31 major cities was 5.5 percent in May.

The NBS said that over the past three months the majority of the workforce, those age 25 to 59, saw the unemployment rate fall. The unemployment rate for this demographic came in at 4.1 percent in May, down 0.1 percentage point from April.

However, young job seekers are still struggling and their unemployment rate remains high. According to the NBS, the surveyed unemployment rate for those age 16 to 24 was 20.8 percent in May, a slight increase from 20.4 percent in April.

Fu Linghui, a spokesman for the NBS, said at a news conference on Thursday the whole job market is bearing greater pressure because of the increasing workforce and the structural imbalance between market demand and workforce supply.

As for the increasing surveyed unemployment rate of young people, he explained that while the nation has roughly 96 million young people aged between 16 to 24 as of May, many of them are still in school.

"Out of the 96 million young people, about one-third of them-33 million — are in the workforce having entered the job market," he said.

"Among the 33 million, about 26 million have landed jobs, so we have roughly 6 million young people remaining unemployed. The employment landscape will become more stable with stronger support as the economy improves."

Zhao Zhong, dean of the School of Labor and Human Resources of Renmin University of China, said in a recent article published in China News Week, that the high unemployment rate of young people is a global problem and the long-term surveys and figures show that the unemployment rate for young people is usually two or three times higher than the nation's average unemployment rate.

The average unemployment rate for young people age from 15 to 24 in 27 European Union countries was 14.5 percent last year. The rate in Italy was 23.7 percent.

He said that most young people face difficulties switching their social identity from being a student to a worker when they enter the job market. They also lack experience in seeking jobs and planning their careers.

The imbalance and mismatch between their knowledge gained at school and the requirements of employers also intensify the group's employment difficulties.

Li Qiang, vice-executive president of Zhaopin, a recruitment portal, said that the structural imbalance in the job market has been caused by "industry upgrading" and is another reason for the employment problems of young people.

"The nation is so far in an industry adjustment period, under which the former main employers of young people and college graduates including education companies, real estate and internet companies are narrowing their recruitment plans," he said.

"But the emergence of the digital economy and shared economy has incubated new professions such as food deliverymen and livestreaming anchors, which will help create more job opportunities under the government's guidance."

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