Educated Chinese Generation Z increasingly prefer not to work. Youth unemployment is reaching record highs.
Young people in China are increasingly dissatisfied with the job market prospects and consciously choose to be a “full-time child.”
Crisis in China
China’s economy is on shaky ground as it emerges from very stringent pandemic measures. Trade has slowed dramatically and the country is about $9 trillion in debt, threatening the financial stability of the world’s second-largest economy.
Moreover, China appears unable to provide young university graduates with entry into the labor market. The unemployment rate among young people aged 16 to 24 in China has risen to a record high of 21%. in May 2023, compared to 15.4 percent two years earlier. That compares with the youth unemployment rate in the U.S., which was 7.4% in May.
It is not known what level youth unemployment is today, because in May, after disastrous results, the Chinese statistical office decided to stop publishing them.
China’s well-educated youth overwhelmingly expect to work in the service sector such as IT, rather than manufacturing, and there are not enough jobs available in the former sector, so the skills of these graduates are not utilized.
“The fact that there are no such jobs in the service sector is a direct result of the mismanagement of the national economy in China,” said Benn Steil, director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, in an interview with American Business Insider.
He added that as long as China’s “bad economic policies” suppress productivity, “American companies will have significantly fewer opportunities to export.”