How Chinese workers fight the US, UK and Brazil

According to an official survey in July, the unemployment rate among Chinese youth aged 16 to 24 has risen to nearly 20%. Pictured is a job fair in Beijing on August 26, 2022.

Ngoc Gao | Afp | beautiful pictures

BEIJING – More people in China and Brazil are more worried about their jobs than in the US and UK, according to a survey by consulting firm Oliver Wyman published this month.

In China, 32% of respondents said they were concerned about the impact of inflation on their job security, 30% of respondents in Brazil also said.

But in the US and UK, that figure is just 13%, the survey found.

Unemployment among Chinese youth aged 16 to 24 years old increased by almost 20%, while this share of the working-age population in cities is about 5.4%, according to an official survey in July.

In Brazil, the unemployment rate as of July was 9.1%, official data showed.

Unemployment rate in the US is much lower 3.5% in July, and 3.6% in the UK, according to government data.

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Oliver Wyman’s research focuses on consumers’ views on the effects of inflation. But Hong Kong-based partner Ben Simpfendorfer noted that each country faces unique circumstances beyond inflation that are likely to affect survey results.

In Brazil, he points out that “periods of very high inflation are not unusual” and income disparities tend to be larger.

That is reflected by 68% of Brazilian respondents who say they are worried about affordability for groceries and essential products.

While affordability for those goods is the top area of ​​concern for consumers in all four countries, Brazil comes out on top. The UK is second with 48%, followed by 44% in the US and 42% in China.

Worries about employment and income in China

In the US, where job growth and wage growth have been strong despite recession fears, “worries about households’ ability to pay for groceries are primarily inflation-related, says Simpfendorfer speak.

“While in China the growth rate is a bit weaker, job growth for some demographics is weaker, workers in the tech sector have struggled recently, wage growth has been slow,” he said. sluggish. to pay for groceries. “

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The Chinese economy has been dragged down by the containment of Covid and the slump in the property market. A tighter regulatory environment, especially for internet technology companies, has also weighed on sentiment.

Chinese incomes are also growing at a slower rate than general price growth.

The average monthly disposable income of Chinese city dwellers was 4,167 Chinese yuan ($598), according to official figures for the first half of the year. This is only 1.9% higher than a year ago.

By contrast, China’s consumer price index rose 2.5% in August from a year ago, down slightly from a two-year high of 2.7% reached last month. A rebound in the price of pork, a staple food, has driven most of the gains.

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Regarding the economic outlook, UK respondents were the most pessimistic, with 75% expecting worse conditions, the Oliver Wyman report said. In the United States, that number is 56%.

Chinese and Brazilian respondents were the most optimistic, 42% and 26% respectively, expecting conditions to improve over the next half year, the survey showed in July.

However, less than 15% of respondents in the US or UK said they were motivated by recession fears to learn new skills or take up a side job. But that rate is also more than 30% in Brazil and China.

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