China’s jobless rate steadily drops

22 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

BEIJING: China’s unemployment rate has steadily dropped from last year’s pandemic peak, though a lack of jobs for graduates and a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers point to underlying problems in the labor market.

The urban jobless rate fell to a two-year low of 5% in May, official data showed last week, but unemployment for those between the ages of 16 and 24 — which captures graduates from school and college — was more than double that at 13.8%, report agencies.

Anecdotal reports suggest a mismatch between jobs and skills in the economy, which could prevent the jobless rate from falling much further. Part of the reason is China’s unbalanced economic growth since the pandemic, with services industries — which are more suited to graduate jobs — slower to recover than manufacturing.

“Exports and investment, including in heavy industries and real estate, are driving the rebound but this demand does not create the type of jobs suited for many of today’s graduates,” said Shaun Roache, chief economist for Asia Pacific at S&P Global Ratings.