The Truth about Chinese Unemployment Rates
SHANGHAI – Since 2002, China’s economy has undergone significant changes, including a shift from acceleration to deceleration of GDP growth. Yet the official urban unemployment rate, jointly issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Department of Labor and Social Security, has remained remarkably steady, at around 4-4.1%. Since 2010, it has stood at precisely 4.1%. This is surprising, to say the least – and has led some to ask whether the NBS could be fudging the numbers.
Extrapolating from UHS data gathered in six provinces, Jun Han and Junsen Zhang, for example, concluded that, in 2005-2006, Chinese unemployment stood at around 10%. Using UHS data from almost all of China, Feng Shuaizhang, Hu Yingyao, and Robert Moffitt calculated an average urban unemployment rate of 10.9% from 2002 to 2009 – the highest estimate ever produced.