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Already challenged by the long economic slowdown and the U.S.-China trade war, China has seen a surge in unemployment rate during the coronavirus pandemic.
As many as 130 million people were either out of work or furloughed in the first quarter of this year in China.
Accounting for migrant workers who couldn’t travel to cities, job losses may have exceeded 50 million and the real unemployment rate could have hit 12% in March, according to BNP Paribas.
China hasn’t confronted unemployment on this scale since 1990, when layoffs at state-owned enterprises led to protests and a spike in violent crime.
Any hope of a recovery is partially dependent on how quickly other world leaders are able to contain the virus and restart their economies. Nearly 200 million jobs in China come from businesses connected to foreign trade, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan wrote in a recent article — more than the entire working population of the U.S.
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