China’s official unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in September, from 4.2% the month before according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. This is also lower than the 4.3% unemployment rate recorded at the end of 2009 according to China Daily.
Yet while the Chinese unemployment rate is low by U.S. or European standards (Official American unemployment is 9.6% based on the BLS.), it isn’t that far below the government’s 4.6% ceiling rate.
The nationwide unemployment rate also doesn’t capture the situation faced on a regional basis.
Given sharp wage inflation in China’s coastal and most developed regions, which Andy Xie even thinks could continue at a 15% annual rate, in some places the supply of labour is clearly extremely tight, while in the far western regions the situation could be the exact opposite.