China lottery ticket sales soar to highest level this year

China lottery ticket sales soar to highest level this year

BEIJING - China's lottery ticket sales in August soared to their highest for any month so far this year, amid public concern about the economy following months of mostly gloomy data including youth unemployment.

In August, National lottery ticket sales rose by 53.6 percent from a year earlier to 52.96 billion yuan, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

The total amount of lottery tickets sold worldwide from January to August was up 51.76 billion from a year earlier, the data showed.

The surge in lottery ticket sales paralleled months of generally soft economic data, with the unemployment rate of job seekers between ages 16 and 24 drawing particular attention from policymakers.

In June, China's unemployment rate hit a record high of 21.3%, according to official data.

Some social media commentators have linked lottery sales in recent months to the growing economic worries of young people.

The nation's statistics bureau abruptly shuttered the youth unemployment statistics in August, saying it had been suspended because officials wanted to 'optimize' its data collection methodology, causing a wave of social media criticism.

Jobless graduates have been losing cities that have historically provided a steppingstone to middle-class wealth, as the housing costs and the slowing economy have made it difficult for them to earn substantial amounts of money.