China's lottery ticket sales surge 53.6%

China's lottery ticket sales surge 53.6%

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

National lottery ticket sales surged 53.6% in August from a year earlier to 52.96 billion yuan, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

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

The surging lottery ticket sales contrasted with months of mostly soft economic data, with the unemployment rate of job seekers between ages 16 and 24 drawing particular attention from policymakers.

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

The rise in lottery sales in recent months has been linked to the rising economic worries of young people.

The nation's statistics bureau abruptly banned the youth unemployment statistic in August, saying it was suspended as officials wanted to 'optimize' its data collection methodology, leading to a wave of social media criticism.

As housing costs and the economy slow down, jobless graduates are losing cities that have been a keystone to a middle-class lifestyle.