Lockdown followed by lockdown along with other negative effects has pushed China’s economy into a downward spiral. Chinese young people are the most affected.
In July, the unemployment rate among people aged 16 to 24 in China increased to 20%, which is a record high.
The average salary in 38 major cities across China fell 1% in the first quarter of this year.
The decline in income forces many young Chinese workers to cut spending, gradually get used to a life of poverty, and abandon their dreams.
Doris Fu, 39, is a marketing consultant living in Shanghai. Before the COVID outbreak, Doris Fu was thinking about a bright future for her and her family, thinking that she would have a new car, a bigger apartment, and holidays on the weekends.
Fu told Reuters about her current life: “I no longer have manicures, I don’t get my hair done anymore. I have gone to China-made for all my cosmetics.”
She added, “I used to go see two movies every month, but I haven’t stepped inside a cinema since the pandemic.”
Reuters cited a survey by the People’s Bank of China reporting that now, almost 60% of people tend to save money. This figure in 2019 is 45%.
Zhiwu Chen, chair professor of finance at Hong Kong University Business School, said “Amid the tough job market and strong downward economic pressure, young people’s feelings of insecurity and uncertainty are something they never experienced.”
Yang Jun, 28, said, “COVID makes people pessimistic.”
She added, “You can’t just be like before, spend all the money you make, and make it back again next month.”