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China’s unemployment soars to alarming rate

The urban jobless rate hit 6.1% in April, up from 5.8% in March — which was already at a 21-month high. The only time China's jobless rate was higher was in February 2020.

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In a major blow to the world’s second-largest economy, China’s unemployment rate is at one of its highest levels. China’s jobless rate rose to 6.1% in April, the highest level since the 6.2% peak seen in the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020.

The rise in unemployment came as lockdowns had an impact across the Chinese economy. The urban jobless rate hit 6.1% in April, up from 5.8% in March — which was already at a 21-month high. The only time China’s jobless rate was higher was in February 2020.

According to media reports, young people have been finding it especially hard to find jobs. Data showed that the unemployment rate for those between 16 to 24 years of age rose to 18.2% — the highest ever.

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The Covid virus that originated from China, has brought its economy to a standstill. In fact, many countries faced severe economic blows. However, they recovered. China’s economy too was off to a solid start in 2022, recording 4.8% growth for the first quarter.

But Beijing’s efforts to curb its worst Covid outbreak in two years have dealt a hefty blow to activity since March, and economists now expect GDP to shrink this quarter.

What’s next for China?

As per international media reports, at least 31 cities in the country remain under full or partial lockdown. Access to food and healthcare remains limited for some.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang recently described the country’s employment situation “complicated and grim” following the worst outbreaks of the virus since 2020.

On the other hand, the Chinese city of Shanghai has announced plans to reopen gradually after spending more than six weeks in lockdown and stamping out COVID-19 transmission in 15 of its 16 districts.

The opening will be rolled out in phases, state media reported on Monday, with city authorities saying “normal life” will resume on June 1.

Read more: COVID Delta arrives China to haunt Wuhan under lockdown