07/15/2021, 17.33
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China’s economy slowing, youth unemployment rising

by Li Qiang

China’s GDP grew by 7.9 per cent in the second quarter, less than half compared to the first quarter. Some analysts expect the actual growth to exceed government forecasts. Youth unemployment rose in June rose to 15.4 per cent, up from 13.8 per cent in May.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – China’s post-COVID recovery continues but at a slower pace.

GDP grew by 7.9 per cent in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2020, China’s National Bureau of Statistics Office reported today. In the first quarter, it had risen by 18.3 per cent.

The authorities welcomed the trend, underlining the economy’s “steady and sound growth momentum”. However, youth employment or lack thereof is another story.

The remarkable GDP growth rates of the first part of the year reflect 2020’s dramatic economic slowdown when the Chinese economy shrunk by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter as a result of the pandemic.

For analysts, by the end of 2021, economic growth will exceed by two percentage points the government’s 6 per cent goal.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s economy is sustained by robust production, steady demand, stable prices, and higher than expected consumption (although down compared to May).

The authorities are also optimistic about employment, even if the official data present an incomplete picture since they do not take into account tens of millions of migrant workers.

In June, the unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5 per cent, the same as in May. However, unemployment for the 16 to 24 age group rose from 13.8 to 15.4 per cent during this period.

Manufacturing and exports have led China's post-pandemic recovery, but growth remains unbalanced, with service industries struggling to return to pre-crisis levels.

Limited opportunities in the service sector keeps the level of youth unemployment high, especially among graduates.

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