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Unemployment rate in China 2008-2025

In 2019, the unemployment rate in urban areas of China ranged at about 3.6 percent. According to IMF projections, the unemployment rate will increase to 3.8 percent in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and drop again to 3.6 percent in 2021.

Unemployment rate in China

From the statistic at hand one can see that the unemployment rate in China has been fairly constant at around four percent over the last few years. This may be partly explained by the fact that due to its socialist heritage, full employment policy historically has played a major role in economic considerations of the Chinese government. Another possible explanation may be found in the index’s methodology, which, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, gathers only employment data for urban regions. The debate as to whether to adjust the methodology accordingly in order to create a more accurate statistical image is still ongoing among Chinese politicians and statisticians. A main concern in China’s current state of employment lies within the large regional differences. As of 2018, the unemployment rate in northeastern regions of China was notably higher than in China’s southern parts. In Beijing, China’s political and cultural center, unemployment ranged at merely 1.4 percent for 2018.

Indicators of economic activities

Apart from the unemployment rate, most commonly used indicators to measure economic activities of a country are GDP growth and inflation rate. According to an IMF forecast, GDP growth in China will slow down to about 5.8 percent in 2022, depicting a decrease of nearly four percentage points from 9.5 percent in 2011. Quarterly growth data published by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated 4.9 percent GDP growth for the third quarter of 2020.

Unemployment rate in urban China from 2008 to 2018 with forecasts until 2025

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Release date

October 2020



Survey time period

2008 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Non-estimates are identical to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

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Statistics on "Employment in China"

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