Bloomberg

China's true unemployment pain masked by official data

China's steady jobless rate is masking pain in the labor market that leaders will find hard to ignore as they look to stimulate the economy in a crucial political year.

A pedestrian walks past buildings in the Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai on Jan. 4, 2022. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Qilai Shen.

Alternative indicators and anecdotal reports suggest unemployment is worse than the official monthly figures show. From weak consumer spending to strict Covid control measures to the government's regulatory crackdown on the edutech and property industries, the labor market is under considerable strain, economists say.

Jobs are an overriding consideration for government officials as the Communist Party prepares for a twice-a-decade leadership meeting later this year. Beijing has already signaled a pro-growth bias in its policies, with economists expecting interest rate cuts and a pick-up in fiscal spending early in the year...

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