New Delhi: Joblessness continues to remain high in China despite the country clocking a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.9 per cent in the July-September quarter. However, economic growth has not translated into jobs. The unemployment rate for the worlds second largest economy at 5.4 per cent in September has remained stubbornly high for months, though it is lower than 6.2 per cent in February this year.
According to data compilation portal Statista, "the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas of China ranged at 5.4 per cent, 0.2 percentage points lower than in August 2020."
An analyst said on condition of anonymity: "It is difficult to gauge the correct picture as transparency in the data is lacking. It is almost certain, however, that the unemployment situation has been misreported."
NPR.org-a non-profit media outfit-in June said that "since the coronavirus pandemic battered China's economy, tens of millions of urban and factory jobs have evaporated." Though the situation has improved since June, the acute slowdown in the global economy and weak export markets have led to only a fraction of them getting re-employed.
Besides, the official unemployment numbers do not take into account the situation in the rural areas. That apart, the unemployment rate in the unorganized sector is also not adequately represented.
Jing Daily, digital publication in China representing the luxury consumer trend, said in a report that "the country's unemployment rate is a ticking time bomb."
"Despite the country's economic and social challenges, the unemployment rate remained well-balanced, always staying around 4-5 percent. But these numbers weren't the reality because it only takes the urban registered jobless rate into account," the publication said, adding that there are about 290 million workers who migrated from the countryside to work in cities as of the end of 2019.
The country's growth rate in the second quarter stood at 3.2 per cent, while in the January to March period, the economy contracted by 6.8 per cent, taking the overall growth figures at 0.7 per cent for the year so far.
China is also struggling to find employment for its 8.74 million students who passed out this year. This is a record high number-about half a million more than 2019. Even as the public sector increased its hiring activities to address the problem, there has been an overall decline in employment especially in the private sector, which accounts for 80 per cent of the urban jobs. Several sectors including manufacturing, consumer goods industry, software and information technology services are known to have reduced their hiring process.
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