Due to the impact of the new pandemic wave, China’s youth unemployment rate has reached new heights several times this year.

It also halted economic growth and brought about construction company defaults and bank protests.

According to the latest announcement by the Statistics Bureau, the youth unemployment rate in China was above 15% in March but climbed to almost 20% in July, the highest ever.

It means around 20 million young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are currently unemployed in urban areas.

Dorothy Solinger, a professor emerita at the University of California, who studies unemployment in China, said the actual market could be even worse for fresh graduates and other job seekers than official data suggest.

Solinger told VOA Mandarin, “China’s unemployment statistics are notoriously wrong, I’m surprised they’re announcing that it’s this high now, but it makes me think it may be even higher.”

More young and well-educated Chinese seek to leave their homeland.

​Amanda (alias), a 24-year-old young woman with a Master’s degree in vocational education and a bachelor’s degree in English—German, was unable to find a suitable job. Through a friend’s recommendation, she landed a part-time job as a waitress at a beer and alcoholic beverage bar in Beijing’s Old Town. 

She told the German media outlet, “I won’t find my dream job in China anyway. Almost nothing can be changed in this country anymore. After all, the response to the pandemic has long since ceased to be about science and has become all about politics. “

Amanda shared that she wants to leave China. She is preparing to apply for a program at Freie Universität Berlin. She would like to pursue a doctorate in education. ​

Amanda added that many of her peers experience the same story as her.

The E-commerce and cloud titan Alibaba showed flat revenue growth for the first time since going public. Six months ago, the company cut more than 13,000 jobs. Likewise, social media and gaming giant Tencent recently laid off nearly 5,500 employees. According to the company’s financial records, this is the most significant workforce decline over a decade.

Experts say unemployment is a sensitive issue for Chinese leader Xi when he is about to seek a historic third term.

Experts say that this will not affect Xi’s continued re-election, but he will suffer a severe economic and political crisis.

According to CNN, the Chinese regime encourages young people to start technology startups or find jobs in rural areas to relieve pressure. In addition, it ordered local authorities to offer tax incentives and loans to attract university graduates to work as village officials or to start businesses there.

But the regime maintains its “zero COVID” policy, which is the main reason behind its economic crisis. Even as the rest of the world learns to live with COVID, China continues to shut down major cities where there have been only a handful of outbreaks. 

More than 313 million people were severely affected since 74 cities were under lockdown earlier this month. However, it wasn’t the virus but the measures used to try and contain it that incensed people.

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