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Employment rate in China 2009-2019

In 2019, the employment rate in China decreased to 65.05 percent, from 65.6 percent in the previous year. China is the world’s most populous country and its rapid economic development over the past decades has profited greatly from its large labor market. While the overall working conditions for the Chinese people are improving, the actual size of the labor force in China has been shrinking steadily in recent years. This is mainly due to an aging population and a low birth rate in the country.

Economic slowdown - impact on labor market

After decades of rapid development, the world’s second largest economy now seems to have difficulties to boost its economy further. The GDP growth rate fell to a new record low and the number of employed people decreased for the first time since decades in 2018. Under the influence of the global economic downturn and the US-China trade war, many Chinese enterprises engaged in international trade are having tough times, which leads to a recession in China’s labor market.

Chances for better employment situation

After numerous discussions, it’s still not clear if the United States and China will sign a trade deal in the next months. The long-lasting trade war has caused China great loss on its international trade sector, which has been driving China’s economic growth for decades. However, there is also a lot China could improve. First, the potential of domestic demands could be further developed and satisfied with high-quality products. Second, it’s a good timing to eliminate backward industries with low value added, and the high-tech and environment-friendly industries should be further promoted. In addition, China’s market could be more open to services, especially in the financial sector and IT services, to attract more foreign investors. Highly skilled talents should be better valued in the labor market. Efficient vocational education and further education could also help change the structure of China’s labor market.

Share of employed people in the Chinese population from 2009 to 2019

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Source

Release date

July 2020

Region

China

Survey time period

2009 to 2019

Age group

15 years and older

Supplementary notes

Figures represent a modeled ILO estimate.
Values have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Employment in China"

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