Despite touting itself as the world’s second strongest economy
, China is suffering from record levels of youth unemployment.
Last week, in an attempt to help new graduates find jobs, the local government of Henan province launched
a 100-day campaign, particularly targeting low-income families, graduates who had been unemployed for a long time, and those who are physically handicapped. China’s third most populous province, Henan is an important economic center for the country and is home to many smartphone factories and agricultural businesses.
As part of the campaign, universities are being directed to conducted “at least three sessions of heart-to-heart talks” with their graduates, according to the document from the province’s education department, as reported
by the South China Morning Post. Schools are also being asked to consider offering a second undergraduate degree and to engage at least 100 employers to provide jobs.
Henan’s employment push is set to run through August.
Though only a province-wide initiative, Henan’s employment campaign is part of a larger, nationwide effort. China’s central government released its latest economic data
last month showing that in April, the Northeast Asian largely fell short of analysts’ expectations.
Most glaringly, among young people aged 16 to 24 years, at least one in five
did not have a job.
China’s soaring youth unemployment rate is a direct result of its draconian and overly strict zero-COVID policy
, which led to the closure of many factories and a massive economic slowdown. However, now that the government has eased its pandemic restrictions, the job market remains laggard and the number of openings has failed to keep up with the number of jobseekers.
According to an analysis
by Goldman Sachs, this problem is being compounded by the growing mismatch between available jobs and the programs that students are taking up in college.
As the graduation season in China is fast approaching
, the country is expecting to welcome nearly 12 million graduates into the workforce this year, raising the specter of mass unemployment.