China's lottery ticket sales surge to highest level this year

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China's lottery ticket sales surge to highest level this year

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

In August, national lottery ticket sales surged from a year earlier to 52.96 billion yuan, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing data from the Finance Ministry.

A total of 375.76 billion yuan of lottery tickets were sold from January to August, up 51.6% from a year earlier.

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

In June, the national unemployment rate in China hit a record high of 21.3%, according to official data.

Social media commentators have linked a recent surge in lottery sales to a growing number of young people's deepening economic worries.

The nation's statistics Bureau abruptly stopped releasing the youth unemployment statistic in August, saying it had been suspended as officials sought to 'optimize' its data collection methodology, causing a wave of social media criticism.

With rising housing costs and a slowdown in the economy, jobless graduates have been losing places that have historically provided a link to the middle-class.