New Delhi– China has stopped releasing youth unemployment figures, which were seen by some as a key indication of the country’s slowdown.

The decision is due to changes in the world’s second largest economy and its society, a government spokesman said.

In June, China’s jobless rate for 16 to 24 year olds in urban areas hit a record high of more than 20 per cent.

The country’s central bank also cut the cost of borrowing on Tuesday in an attempt to help boost growth.

Official figures published on Tuesday showed China’s overall unemployment rate had risen to 5.3 per cent in July.

At the same time the government said it would temporarily suspend publishing youth joblessness data but gave no timeline for the suspension, the BBC reported.

A spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics said the method of calculating unemployment among young people needed to be reconsidered.

“The economy and society are constantly developing and changing. Statistical work needs continuous improvement”, Fu Linghui told a news conference in Beijing.

Fu hinted that the growth in the number of students between 16 and 24 years of age had affected unemployment figures, but China has never counted those in education as unemployed.

China started publishing youth unemployment figures in 2018. However, it does not currently release data on the employment status of young people in rural areas.

The announcement came as the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery is slowing, the BBC reported. (IANS)