China slashed its high youth unemployment by nearly a third this month—at least on paper. However, some experts say the government’s new methodology, which follows a half-year moratorium on publishing this data, does little more than whitewash a systemic problem.
One told Newsweek removing students from the sample is what caused the drop. Though Beijing reported last week it had hit its stated goal of at least 5 percent GDP growth in 2023, the world’s second-largest economy faces major headwinds in the long term.
These include an aging workforce, declining foreign investment, a property market slump, and lower global demand for exports. The Chinese Statistics Bureau reported last week that unemployment among the 16- to 24-year-old demographic was 14.9 percent in December.
This would be a considerable improvement over the 21.3 percent reported for that age bracket last June, compared to 5.2 percent for the general population. China’s statistics bureau didn’t immediately return Newsweek’s request for comment.