China sets record for university graduates, but anxiety prevails among youth

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May 19 (UPI) — More than 9 million university students are expected to graduate this year in China, a record high for the country, but young people are reporting greater anxiety over future prospects.

About 9.09 million students are expected to be conferred their bachelor’s degree in June, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics,

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A percentage of the population, or about 2.97 million people, reportedly already found employment at firms located in China’s biggest cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

That number shows job creation has reached 27% of a government target, the Chinese agency said in statement Wednesday.

Zhang Libin, a researcher with China’s Labor Science Research Institute, said the government has introduced a policy that supports firms that focus on job creation.

Last week, state-owned news agency Xinhua reported China will continue to provide businesses with incentives to hire more people, including corporate tax breaks and social insurance subsidies.

“Employment shall remain front and center in the government’s efforts to maintain stability,” said Premier Li Keqiang at the executive meeting of China’s State Council on May 12.

“Job creation is as much about development as it is about people’s well-being. The positive growth of China’s economy last year was very much underpinned by the 11 million new jobs created.”

But state tabloid Global Times previously claimed last year was the “most difficult employment season in China’s history.”

China’s job crunch comes at a time when more young people say they are experiencing “burnout, ennui and despair,” the New Yorker reported Friday.

Even Chinese graduates of elite universities say the hyper-competitiveness with peers leaves them feeling like “trash,” according to online discussion threads, the report said.

Workers also could be dangerously overworked in China.

Last year at Pinduouo, an e-commerce company, one employee died from exhaustion while another jumped to his death, according to the report.