China’s Gen Z is discouraged, underemployed and slowing the economy

The most educated generation in China’s history was supposed to lead the way to a more innovative and technologically advanced economy. Instead, an estimated 15 million young people are out of work, and many are lowering their ambitions.

A perfect storm of factors propelled unemployment among city dwellers aged 16 to 24 to a record 19.3%, more than double the comparable rate in the United States. The government’s sweeping coronavirus strategy has led to layoffs, while its regulatory crackdown on property and education companies has hit the private sector. Meanwhile, a record number of college and trade school graduates — some 12 million — are entering the workforce this summer. This highly educated cohort has intensified the mismatch between available positions and the expectations of job seekers.

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