Chinese economy maintains stable growth in April

A 15-meter diameter super-large shield tunneling machine that can balance water and mud roll off the production line in east China's Zhejiang province, May 9, 2021. (Photo by Long Wei/People's Daily)

China’s national economy maintained momentum for stable recovery in the past April, with the demand for production continuing to rise, employment and commodity price being stabilized, and new growth drivers being fostered.

According to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on May 17, the value added of high-tech manufacturing grew 12.7 percent year on year, and the total retail sales of consumer goods increased 17.7 percent last month. Besides, the urban surveyed unemployment rate was 0.2 percentage points lower than that in March.

A few days ago, a 15-meter diameter super-large shield tunneling machine that can balance water and mud rolled off the production line in east China’s Zhejiang province. Zhao Hua, general manager of China Railway Engineering Equipment Group Co., Ltd., the company that developed the machine, introduced that the diameter of the tunneling machine is equal to the height of a five-storey building. The 120-meter-long and 4,300-tonne giant will play an important role in Zhejiang’s water pipeline projects and road reconstruction projects, Zhao added.

In April, the industrial enterprises above the designated size reported an average two-year growth of 6.8 percent, or 0.6 percentage points higher than that of March. The average two-year growth of the value added of equipment manufacturing and high-tech manufacturing stood at 11.2 percent and 11.6 percent respectively. Green and low-carbon products also maintained rapid growth. Both the new energy vehicle and industrial robot sectors reported double-digit average two-year growth.

During this year’s Tomb-sweeping Day holiday in early April, Chinese people made a total of 102 million visits, up 144.6 percent from a year ago. China UnionPay reported online transactions of 903.6 billion yuan ($140.38) in the three-day holiday, up by 3.6 percent from that in 2020. The consumption sector just displayed the vitality of the Chinese economy.

Domestic demand, including consumption, kept expanding, which was a major highlight of China’s economic performance in April. Last month, the total retail sales of consumer goods reported an average two-year growth of 4.3 percent and continued rising. In the January-April period, the average two-year growth of online retail sales of physical goods reached 15.6 percent, 0.2 percentage points higher than that in the first quarter. In the first four months, the investment in fixed assets reported an average two-year growth of 3.9 percent, one percentage point higher than that in the January-March period.

Both the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of the manufacturing sector and the business activity index of the service sector have been maintained above the critical point, which suggested improving vitality of enterprises.

China maintained general stable employment situation and saw steady decline of unemployment rate. On a job fair of flexible employment held by southeast China’s Fujian province, 5,549 jobs were offered by 15 enterprises, including couriers and warehouse managers. Northwest China’s Qinghai province has built a matchmaking platform for job seekers and enterprises, and central province of Hunan initiated a program that aims to offer vocational training for 360,000 people and issue entrepreneur loans of 12 billion yuan by the end of 2023. Hunan is striving to assist over 60,000 people in starting businesses.

As the results of epidemic control and economic and social development have been further consolidated, and employment services continuously improved, China’s employment is generally stabilized. In the first four months, 4.37 million jobs were added in urban areas. In April, urban surveyed unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, down by 0.2 percentage points from that in March, and 0.9 percentage points from a year ago. The urban surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities was 5.2 percent, 0.1 percentage points lower than March. Specifically, the surveyed unemployment rate of the population aged from 25 to 59 were 4.6 percent, 0.2 percentage points lower from a month ago.

“In general, the Chinese economy maintained stable growth in April,” said Fu Linghui, spokesperson of the NBS.

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