China said Tuesday it will stop publishing urban youth unemployment data after the figure hit a record-high 21.3 percent in June amid a slow economic recovery from the fallout of its stringent "zero-COVID" policy.
The National Bureau of Statistics said it will suspend the release of the jobless rate for those aged 16 to 24 in city areas starting from the July data, originally due out in August, to "further improve and optimize" labor force survey statistics.
Unlike some other countries, the Chinese youth unemployment data includes students looking for jobs before they graduate. Fu Linghui, a spokesman of the bureau, said at a press conference further research is needed to examine whether those students should be covered by the labor force survey.
"As the economy and society are constantly developing and changing, statistical work needs to be continuously improved," he said. The suspension of the youth jobless data has prompted social media users to post critical comments.
The world's second-largest economy has been struggling to fully recover from the stringent antivirus measures involving lockdowns and quarantines that ended earlier this year.
China's gross domestic product expanded only 0.8 percent in the April-June period from the previous three months.