China Stops Releasing Youth Employment Data

    Photo: Joshua Fernandez [via Unsplash]

    The Facts

    • After youth unemployment rates hit a record 21.3% in June, China's National Bureau of Statistics has announced that it will halt releasing those numbers to "further improve and optimise labour [sic] force survey statistics."

    • This is the latest month in a series of consecutive record highs, with the youth unemployment rate from April to June rising to 20.4%, 20.8%, and 21.3% in each respective month. It also comes as a record 11.6M college graduates seek employment this year.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    The PRC's expected post-COVID economic rebound is not happening, and Beijing should be worried. Due to declining exports and imports, shrinking property values, and the remaining demographic effects of the one-child policy, China is looking at a depressing economy over the next decade.

    Pro-China narrative

    While youth unemployment is dealing with some issues, the overall unemployment rate in China is stable. Furthermore, most of the 11M college students set to graduate in 2023 already have jobs lined up, which means the youth demographic is still strong and getting stronger. The reason Beijing has paused the release of certain economic data is to give the PRC time to represent a more realistic — and factually optimistic — outlook for the country.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 69% chance that China's GDP will exceed the United States' GDP in any year before 2041, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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