China successfully generates 12.44 million new urban jobs in 2023, meeting its annual target, the Ministry of Human Resources revealed. This achievement showcases resilience in the country’s labor market, despite ongoing economic uncertainties. The 2023 goal of creating approximately 12 million urban jobs was met, but officials emphasized the need for heightened efforts in 2024 to sustain employment levels.
Yun Donglai, Deputy Director of the ministry’s employment promotion department, acknowledged the heightened economic uncertainty in 2024 and stressed the pressure on total employment is expected to persist. To address these challenges, the ministry plans to focus on priority targets, including bolstering support for youth employment, especially among college graduates.
Despite China’s 5.2% economic growth in 2023 meeting government targets, challenges persist, including a prolonged downturn in the property market, subdued consumer and business confidence, and escalating local government debt. The nationwide survey-based jobless rate increased to 5.1% in December, reflecting businesses’ caution in hiring amid uncertainties. However, for the full year of 2023, the average nationwide survey-based jobless rate declined to 5.2%.
In a competitive job market, Chinese college graduates faced challenges, leading to a record-high youth jobless figure of 21.3% in June 2023. The National Bureau of Statistics resumed the publication of youth unemployment data in December, revealing a 14.9% survey-based jobless rate for 16-24 year-olds (excluding college students).
As China navigates these employment challenges, the focus remains on targeted strategies to boost job creation, particularly for the youth, amid the evolving economic landscape.
Opinion: The successful generation of 12.44 million new urban jobs in 2023 is undoubtedly a positive sign for China’s economy, indicating resilience and the ability to meet targets in the face of economic uncertainties. However, the challenges, particularly with youth employment, cannot be overlooked. Heightened efforts to support college graduates and create job opportunities for the youth will be crucial in sustaining the positive momentum in China’s labor market.