Youth Unemployment Hits Record 21.3% as China’s Economy Slows in the Second Quarter

China’s Economy Grows Slower Than Expected in Q2, Youth Unemployment Hits Record High

China’s economy experienced slower growth than anticipated in the second quarter, coinciding with a record high in youth unemployment. Official data released on Monday revealed that gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.8 percent from April to June, indicating lackluster demand both domestically and internationally. However, when compared to the previous year, GDP showed a growth rate of 6.3 percent; although this figure appears positive, it is worth noting that it stems from a low point in 2022 when “zero COVID” policies brought economic activity to a halt.

In terms of specific indicators, retail sales in June saw a year-on-year increase of 3.1 percent, while industrial production output rose by 4.4 percent. Nevertheless, economists had initially predicted a growth rate of over 7 percent for China’s overall economy. Despite falling short of these expectations, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) emphasized that the results highlight the economy’s positive momentum as it recovers from the pandemic.

According to NBS spokesman Fu Linghui, “By quarter, the GDP grew by 4.5 percent year on year in the first quarter and 6.3 percent in the second quarter. Market demand gradually recovered, production supply continued to increase, employment and price were generally stable, and residents’ income grew steadily.” While this statement reflects China’s progress towards stability, it is essential to recognize that the country still faces challenges in its recovery. Notably, youth unemployment surged to a historic high of 21.3 percent in June, up from 20.8 percent the previous month, according to NBS data.

To counter these obstacles, Beijing has set a growth target of approximately 5 percent for 2023, which is relatively conservative compared to the growth trends observed in recent decades. China’s economy performed weakly in 2022, with an official growth rate of 3 percent, reflecting the impact of stringent “zero COVID” measures that resulted in business closures and reduced consumer activity.

In conclusion, China’s second-quarter economic growth fell below expectations, while youth unemployment reached a record peak. Although there were increases in retail sales and industrial production output, they were overshadowed by the persistently high joblessness among young people. As China aims for a 5 percent growth rate in the coming year, it is crucial to monitor the progress of the economic recovery and evaluate the effectiveness of policy measures aimed at creating employment opportunities and stimulating demand.

[Add concluding thoughts or speculation about the future if necessary.]