China reported an improvement in its youth unemployment rate for December, following months of policymakers adjusting the methodology for the figure that had reached a record high the previous summer, the New York Times reported.
The unemployment rate for individuals aged 16 to 24 stood at 14.9% last month, as stated by the statistics department in a Wednesday announcement. This percentage, excluding students, marks a decline from the 21.3% reported in June when the release of such data was temporarily suspended.
Although the government asserted that the new methodology provides a more accurate depiction of unemployment, some economists warned that the revised criteria complicate the evaluation of the December figure. To offer a clearer context, the statistics bureau would have to release historical data using the adjusted formula.
Kang Yi, director of the National Bureau of Statistics, said at a news conference that this methodology produced “a more accurate monitor of youth unemployment” because it separates young people looking for part-time jobs while in school from those looking for full-time jobs after graduation. He noted that graduates need to find work, but the main task of students was “to study, not to work part-time.”
He Yafu, an independent demographer located in the southern city of Zhanjiang in Guangdong Province, believes that the alteration in measurement contributed to a decrease in the overall figure, although he maintains that an equivalent number of young individuals remain unemployed, the New York Times reported.
Additionally, in a noteworthy adjustment, the statistics bureau announced the establishment of a new age category for unemployment measurement. China has decided to track jobless rates specifically among 25- to 29-year-olds, distinguishing them from the broader 25- to 59-year-old demographic. The bureau justified this change by noting that more young people are pursuing graduate education before entering the job market. According to the bureau, 6.1 per cent of individuals aged 25 to 29 were unemployed in December.
Many young Chinese continue to face challenges in securing employment due to the overall sluggishness of the economy compared to the rapid growth experienced in the past.
“As for this year’s job market, the pressure is still there,” Mr. Kang conceded.
“They will provide more space for the job seekers,” he said.