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Public Outrage Over China's Decision To Stop Publishing Data On Youth Unemployment

Public Outrage Over China's Decision To Stop Publishing Data On Youth Unemployment
China's statistics office announced on Tuesday that it had halted the publication of data on youth unemployment, citing the need to improve the methodology used to calculate the rate, which has recently reached record highs.
The announcement of the decision came soon after the release of weaker-than-anticipated manufacturing and retail sales data, which led to a rare outcry on social media amid mounting dissatisfaction with the nation's employment prospects.
"At present the majority of graduating university students have already confirmed their employment destination and their employment situation is generally stable," said Fu Linghui, a spokesman with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
"Slightly higher than in the same period last year," he continued, referring to the graduate employment rate.
After traditional sources of graduate employment, like as the property, IT, and education industries, were hurt by regulatory crackdowns in recent years, young Chinese are currently confronting their most difficult summer job-hunting season.
According to the most recent NBS statistics on youth unemployment, which were released last month, the percentage spiked to a record high of 21.3% in June.
According to a survey conducted by the private sector and reported last week by the state-run China News Service, 47% of graduates will return home within six months of receiving their diploma in 2022, up from 43% in 2018.
The NBS's Fu stated the data would be suspended because "statistical work needs to be continuously improved because the economy and society are constantly developing and changing."
The definition of the age range and the question of whether currently job-seeking students should be counted in the unemployment figures "need further research," Fu added.
Data on young unemployment in China had been collected for those aged 16 to 24.
Chinese social media swiftly derided the NBS's decision, with over 10 million views on a linked hashtag on the microblogging site Weibo.
"If you close your eyes then it doesn't exist," read one comment liked over 5,000 times.
"There is a saying called 'burying your head in the sand'," wrote another user.
In March, a Chinese scholar said that the country's actual rate of youth unemployment may have been closer to 50%. His unusual public remarks on the subject were published in an article for the financial magazine Caixin. Later, that article was censored.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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