But her situation changed dramatically this summer. Just like Cherry about to graduate from college this year and started her job, she was told by the company that her offer had been canceled because the company had to “adjust” its business and cut staff.
Her colleagues also received similar calls.
“I think it’s the pandemic,” the 22-year-old said. “Most companies have been affected by the Covid lockdown this year.”
She asked to be called only Cherry, for fear of retaliation from future employers.
“Our recent graduates were definitely the first to get fired, because we were new to the company and didn’t have much to contribute,” says Cherry.
A record 10.76 million university graduates entered the job market this year, at a time when China’s economy is losing its ability to absorb them.
The rate fell slightly to 18.7% in August, but remains one of the highest ever, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday.
That means there are currently about 20 million 16- to 24-year-olds out of work in cities and towns, according to CNN calculations based on official statistics putting the urban youth population at 107. . million. The rural unemployment rate is not included in the official data.
“This is definitely China’s worst jobs crisis for young people” in more than four decades, said Willy Lam, senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation in Washington DC.
“Mass unemployment is a big challenge for the Communist Party,” he said, adding that providing economic growth and job stability was key to the Party’s legitimacy.
The freelance car industry was once the main source of well-paid jobs for young, educated workers in China, but big companies are now downsizing at an unprecedented scale. before.
This is the biggest layoff since Alibaba went public in New York in 2014, according to CNN calculations based on its financial documents.
“The importance of this latest tech industry cut cannot be underestimated,” said Craig Singleton, senior fellow for China at DC-based Defense of Democracies.
“These latest cuts represent a dual threat to Beijing going forward – not only will thousands of people suddenly quit their jobs, but now these Chinese tech giants will have fewer employees are more qualified to help them innovate and scale to take on their Western competitors,” said Singleton.
“There’s a saying in the business world that ‘if you don’t grow, you’re dying,’ and that simple truth risks undermining China’s broader technological ambitions,” he added.
“There are more and more signs that the long-standing trust between the Chinese people and the Chinese Communist Party is starting to crack, which could lead to broken social cohesion,” Singleton said.
Experts say the issue of unemployment has come at a sensitive time for the Chinese leader. Mr. Xi is seeking a historic third term when the Communist Party holds a congress next month.
George Magnus, an associate at the China Center at the University of Oxford.
But youth unemployment would be a “major threat” to China’s economic and political stability in the long run, he added.
It is not that the government is not aware of the problem, but that so far they have not been able to come up with any concrete solutions.
In June, the ministries of education, finance, civil and human resources and social security jointly issued a statement, asking local governments to provide tax incentives and loans, and collect attract university graduates to work as village civil servants or start businesses there.
These restrictions are taking a toll on the world’s second-largest economy – analysts forecast growth of just 3% or less this year. Excluding 2020 – when the pandemic began in China – it would mark the country’s slowest annual growth since 1976.
But the Covid policy is likely to be maintained for several months, as Mr. Xi will not want to see any uncontrolled increase in Covid cases until his political future is secured. experts said.
According to Magnus, “the likelihood is that China will try and shuffle over the next few years, with a high risk of economic instability.”
For graduates like Cherry – who are still unemployed – this means giving up her dream of entering the tech industry and moving into lower-paying government jobs to settle in.
“I want to work for internet companies right after I graduate, because I’m too young,” she said.
“But because of this incident, my mindset has changed. I think it’s good to have stability now.”
Mengchen Zhang of CNN in Beijing contributed to this report.