Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Xi’s Great Leap Backward

By Craig Singleton

04 Aug 2022 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

You should dive into the article to find out about China's looming job crisis and how Xi's response is showing him in a very particular light.

China, often dubbed “the world’s factory,” accounts for around 30 percent of global manufacturing output. However, there is one commodity China cannot produce fast enough: jobs for its millions of newly minted college graduates.

Amid China’s worsening economic crisis, nearly one-fifth of those between the ages of 16 and 24 are now unemployed, with millions more underemployed. One survey found that of the 11 million Chinese students who graduated from college this summer, fewer than 15 percent had secured job offers by mid-April. Even as many U.S. and European workers are seeing their salaries surge, this year’s Chinese graduates can expect to earn 12 percent less than the class of 2021. Many will make less than truck drivers—if they are lucky enough to find a job at all.

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