Happy Chinese New Year. Today (01/26/09) is the first day of the year of the ox. Yes, the year of the ox. I don’t really know much about this except that there are several days of traditions. But it is important to note because China is not only facing a new year, but a new era.
That brings me to an article I read in the NY Times yesterday called College-Educated Chinese Feel Job Pinch by Edward Wong. Here are some excerpts I pulled. I particularly like the stats:
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Students applying for jobs at the same time the previous
year had gotten two or three offers by the winter, sometimes for a starting
salary 20 times the average Chinese annual income.
As this country lumbers into the Year of the Ox, a frisson
of anxiety is rippling through a generation of Chinese who had grown up
thinking that economic prosperity was guaranteed them.
“Under the current situation, new social conflicts will be
created nonstop,” Chen Jiping, deputy secretary general of the Communist
Party’s central political and legislative affairs committee, said this month in
Outlook, a magazine published by Xinhua, the state news agency.
The Chinese government reported Thursday that the growth
rate for the final quarter of last year fell to 6.8 percent, bringing the rate
for the full year down to 9 percent, the slowest pace in at least six years. In
2007, the economy expanded at a roaring 13 percent clip. Analysts say growth
could slow to 5 or 6 percent this year, which would be the slowest pace for
more than a decade.
Reliable unemployment statistics are hard to come by. The
official registered urban unemployment rate for the end of 2008 was 4.2
percent, up from 4 percent in 2007; it was the first time the official rate had
risen after five consecutive years of decline.
About 670,000 businesses shut down and 6.7 million jobs
“evaporated” last year because of the economic downturn, Chen Quansheng, an
adviser to the Chinese cabinet, said in a magazine published by The People’s
Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece.
Of 5.59 million college graduates in 2008, an estimated 27
percent were unable to find jobs by the end of the year, according to the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
For the students, that meant the odds were dismal: every job
opening in the government had an average of 78 applicants.
I once read that it is estimated that for the US economy to generate jobs the GDP has to be approximately 2.5%or above. This is relational to the population size of the country. For China, the GDP has to be at least 7.5%.