China's economic recovery appears to be scattered across the country, according to the latest data released by the Xinhua news agency. The move to fully ease one of the world's tightest COVID-19 regimes in January this year had injected an early dose of optimism into the global economy. The COVID-19 policy in China, which included frequent testing, curbs on movement and mass lockdowns, had greatly damaged the world's second-largest economy.
The pandemic led Shanghai Disneyland to close three times during the past three years, including a snap COVID-19 lockdown imposed last year that resulted in thousands of visitors trapped inside the park. Since China's reopening, business has been so brisk that Disney announced a nearly 10 percent hike in the price of entry tickets. We are young. If money is spent, it can be earned again. But at Disneyland, happiness is worth even more, said one visitor. Tourists told CNA that they queued for more than an hour at the park entrance to get in due to the sheer number of people. In the first quarter of this year, the number of visiters and revenue at the Shanghai International Tourism Resort, where Disneyland is located, hit record levels.
They were up 81 percent and 82 per cent compared to the same period last year, but in 2019 before COVID-19 hit. Tourism growth has also rebounded strongly across China, up 32 percent from a year ago during the Dragon Boat Festival. Psychological rebound is possible. After the reopening this year, everybody is going out to play either abroad or domestically, he said. Despite the strong rebound in domestic tourism, the prospects for thebroader Chinese economy and employment appear less certain. Although the number of tourism trips has increased, revenue has dropped 5 per cent compared to 2019, indicating that although people are willing to travel, they are spending less.
Scores of migrant workers in Shenzhen's long distance transport station sleep rough on the streets, after exhausting their resources while waiting to find jobs in the tech hub. Policemen chase them away at the beginning of the day, but they would return at night. The job market is no good right now. During the pandemic, it was a little better, said one jobseeker who has been waiting for more than two months. At that time, there were still positions for anti-pandemic security guards. There are no such jobs available now. While some laborers are paying less for their hours, hourly wages have dropped from around $3.50 to around $2.50 per hour in the U.S. job market. Salaries are going down, said Yang Qing, chairperson of the Yun Jiu Hong Human Resources Group. If the demand for manpower from companies is low, it is impossible for them to attract potential employees with a high salary. As of May this year, a record one in five youths in China's biggest cities are unemployed.
The soft labor market is partly a result of a sluggish manufacturing sector, where recovery has been below expectations. At the world's largest wholesale electronics market in Shenzhen, the crowds are dwindling even on weekends. Businesses say sales have been worse than last year, when manufacturing was often disrupted by lockdowns. Some analysts say about half of their competitors are shutting down, according to The Associated Press. Angela Yang, CNA's director of Shenzhen Panfengxiu Technology, said: Although China has opened up, compared to last year, the situation has not improved much. Although foreigners can enter China now, the quantity of orders placed this year is in fact not comparable to last year.