SCIO briefing on China's economic performance in the first quarter of 2020

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on April 17 in Beijing to brief the media on China's economic performance in the first quarter of 2020. April 18, 2020


Was the negative economic growth in the first quarter of 2020 affected by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic? In terms of consumption, has internet influencer marketing been impacted? Finally, what are the challenges to employment? What is the current situation in March and April? Thank you.

Mao Shengyong:

Thank you for your questions.

To the first question, the impact of the pandemic is indeed obvious, and it is hard to get a quantitative calculation. This is because some of the impacts are direct, some may be indirect, some are short-term and some may be long-term. A hard hit now may get recovered later, as China's economy is relatively resilient, so any specific quantitative calculation is still difficult. 

My second answer relates to consumption and internet influencer marketing. In the next step, we need to boost domestic demand to promote the smooth running of China's economy, which is based on stable foreign trade and investment at the same time. We should invest more and unleash consumer potential to promote domestic demand. China has huge consumer potential, but with the current spread of COVID-19, people cut their spending. Furthermore, consumer potential will be gradually tapped; for example, we will see new consumption patterns growing quickly and an effort to target online shopping. On the whole, the curb on consumption seen in early stages will be lifted in later stages, with new consumption types functioning actively.

To the third question, I'll address employment challenges. Statistics show China's overall employment situation is stable, with an unemployment rate in March that decreased by 0.3% and the main labor force group (aged 25-59) showing a 0.2% drop compared to last month. However, we still face relatively great pressure, especially in the stages with the increasing downward pressure of the economy, decreased orders from enterprises and lessened demand. In this case, rural migrant workers and college students are the key groups who are under relatively big pressure. In response to this situation, China has introduced employment priority policies, which have been implemented with concerted effort. On the one hand, our country is doing everything possible to help enterprises weather difficulties and maintain a balanced employment rate. On the other hand, we should assist key groups; for example, we should increase training for migrant workers and help them return home to start their own businesses. Next, we should continue to promote innovation in employment and business startups in a flexible way. Generally speaking, greater efforts should be made to advance the overall employment balance. The situation in March and April stands as such: In March, the employment situation was obviously rising and improving, and this trend should continue in April. Thank you.

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