Last update: May 01, 2023, 12:24 p.m. HST
Photo taken on August 26, 2022 shows a woman using her phone during a job fair in Beijing. (Credits: AFP)
Unemployment among urban youth aged 16-24 rose sharply to 19.6% in March this year, the second highest level on record
Amid record high unemployment in China, the country’s wealthiest province has come up with a unique, but controversial, youth employment solution that is sending 3 lakh unemployed youths to the countryside to find work.
China’s Guangdong Province, a manufacturing hub neighboring Hong Kong, said it would help college graduates and young entrepreneurs find jobs in villages, CNN reported.
The province has also encouraged young rural people to return to the countryside to seek work.
The announcement comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping in December 2022 called on urban youth to seek jobs in rural areas to revive the rural economy.
Beijing had launched a similar campaign under former leader Mao Zedong in which tens of millions of urban youth were exiled to remote parts of China.
China is heading for social instability as unemployment hits historic highs. Persistent youth unemployment is accompanied by a record 11.58 million students graduating from universities and colleges this year.
Unemployment among urban youth aged 16-24 rose sharply to 19.6% in March this year, the second highest level on record, from 18.1% in February, according to ANI.
Data suggests that there are about 11 million jobless young people in Chinese cities.
The spike in youth unemployment rates is largely due to China’s economic slowdown. Slowing manufacturing and a weak IT sector are believed to be the reasons for this persistent problem.
Last month, the Communist Youth League slammed young graduates for refusing to ‘tighten the screws in the factories’ and urged them to ‘take off their suits, roll up their sleeves and go to the farmland’, according to a Financial Times report.
However, many people in China are mocking the government on social media for not creating enough jobs for the growing number of educated young people.
Fears about social mobility lead some young people to question conventional norms about families and employment. China’s young population embraces the “tang ping” or “lying flat” movement, which encourages doing the bare minimum instead of working hard for long-term returns.
There’s also the ‘Moonlight Clan’, a group of young Chinese people who deliberately live paycheck to paycheck, buying luxuries like vacations abroad to make up for longer-term disappointment. .
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