Chinese youth hit hard by weak labor market

Young people across China are feeling the effects of the deteriorating labor market as the economic fallout from the government’s “zero Covid” strategy continues.

University graduates are among those likely to be hardest hit by the impact of the lockdowns imposed earlier this year. More than 10 million students, a record number, are expected to graduate this summer.

Authorities put Shanghai, China’s main commercial hub, on lockdown for more than two months from the end of March, and also imposed strict restrictions in the capital Beijing.

The measures forced many businesses to close, disrupted supply chains and triggered a drop in public spending.

The unemployment rate in cities in May was 5.9%, above the government target of 5.5% or lower.

The unemployment rate for people aged 16 to 24 was significantly higher, at 18.4%, the worst figure since the statistics were first released in January 2018.

The government has responded by increasing hiring in state-owned companies and offering tax incentives to companies that hire new graduates.

Experts say leaders are monitoring the situation carefully in a bid to stem any rising resentment among the youth population.

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