China’s Henan province has unveiled a 100-day plan to “dynamically clear” youth unemployment as concern grows over record levels of joblessness among young adults, with millions more students due to graduate this year.
The plan, to take place in colleges and universities from May to August, includes the promotion of jobs in public institutions and state-owned enterprises, second degrees and grassroots or rural employment projects.
The goal is to ensure “zero-dynamic clearing” for long-term unemployment and the “smooth employment of college graduates”, the provincial Department of Education said in a social media post this week.
“During the 100-day sprint, all colleges and universities should focus on finding out the number of graduates from key groups who are hindered in job hunting and unemployed … and provide them with one-on-one guidance, training and job delivery,” the department said.
Henan is China’s third most populous province with nearly 100 million people.
At the national level, youth employment hit a record 20.4% in April as educated youngsters compete for jobs in what remains one of the world’s fastest growing major economies as it emerges from three years of Covid-19 restrictions.
Economists expect youth unemployment to become increasingly common in coming years as graduates enter the job market. But at the same time, a shortage of factory labour due to an aging workforce is likely to exacerbate job market imbalances.
The “dynamic zero clearing” term the education department used is reminiscent of the language authorities used in the fight against Covid, reflecting the level of concern about unemployment.
Heavy-handed tactics to stamp out Covid saw students confined to campuses for long stretches, adding to frustration that led to rare student protests against Covid policies in late 2022.
Industries popular among new graduates in China, such as tech, education, real estate and finance, have all faced regulatory crackdowns in recent years.