Research Briefing | Mar 31, 2023

China consumer and office sectors drive city jobs growth this year

Cities with the most favourable demographics and with strength in the consumer- and office-based sectors are set to power China’s economic recovery in 2023 and record the strongest rates of employment growth. Jobs growth in the 15 major cities will be 0.8% this year, compared with 0.1% for China as a whole.

What you will learn:

  • For the first time since 2014, China’s national employment level is expected to record a minor increase. However, this outcome will likely only represent a short-term reprieve in China’s structural decline in employment as the country grapples with worsening demographics. It will in large part be driven by a temporary post-Covid-19 boost in job numbers in some of the country’s major cities.
  • That said, the rate of jobs growth across China’s major cities will vary significantly. Those with weaker demographics and a higher reliance on China’s declining traditional industry base may not see employment growth return this year.
  • The country’s consumer sectors, recovering from a difficult 2022 marred by intermittent Covid-19-related restrictions, will be an important source of job creation for many of China’s major cities, especially Shanghai. Moreover, other central and southern coastal cities, with additional strength in office-based sectors, are set to record the strongest rates of employment growth this year.
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