CHINA’S jobless rate rose to 6.1% in April, the highest level since the 6.2% peak seen in the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020.
It comes as widening lockdowns led to a sharp slowdown in activity for the world’s second largest economy.
Official figures also show retailers and manufacturers were hit hard.
Full or partial lockdowns were imposed in dozens of cities in March and April, including a long shutdown of the commercial centre Shanghai.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang recently described the country’s employment situation “complicated and grim” following the worst outbreaks of the virus since 2020.
Still, the government aims to keep the jobless rate below 5.5% for this year as a whole.
The rise in unemployment came as lockdowns had an impact across the Chinese economy.
Retail sales saw the biggest contraction since March 2020 as they shrank by 11.1% in April from a year earlier, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
That was much worse than March’s 3.5% drop and missed the economists’ expectations of a 6.1% fall.