Almost half of Chinese undergraduates returned to their hometowns last year within six months of graduation, state media reported, with the proportion rising to 47% from 43% in 2018 amid a sagging job market.
Feeling the pinch of rising living costs, jobless Chinese youth have been leaving mega-cities, traditionally the stepping stone to middle-class wealth and beyond, for their hometowns with a slowing economy this year further pushing them away.
The proportion of undergraduates returning home six months after graduation climbed to 47% in 2022 from 43% in 2018, state-run China News Service reported on Tuesday, citing a private sector survey.
Those going home varied, with the well-developed east seeing the highest percentage of 59% versus 44% in the west and 24% in the northeast rust belt.
China’s youth jobless rate jumped to a record 21.3% in June with limited offers during the traditional job-hunting season, alongside a dim economic outlook, employment mismatch, salary cuts and previous regulatory clampdown that bruised the property, tech and education sectors.
Also pushing the young to return home are continued increases in rents. Among China’s biggest first-tier cities, rents in Beijing soared 5.0% by the end of June from December followed by 2.8% gains in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.
The rental market is widely expected to heat up in August, with fresh graduates looking to find lodgings in big cities.
The education ministry has predicted the number of 2023 graduates would reach 11.58 million, up 820,000 from last year.