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One in Four People in China’s Work in Public Sector

According to the latest data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the total number of employed urban residents in China’s cities fell from about 180 million people in 2013 to 170 million people annually between 2019 and 2021. At the same time, the number of public sector employees, including education, public administration, social security, and social organizations, increased from about 33 million to about 40 million, and the proportion of public sector employees in the total employment population increased from about 18% to 23%.

The number of people applying for civil service positions in China has also increased significantly, from nearly 1.37 million in 2013, with an average competition ratio of 66:1, to 2.5 million this year, with an average competition ratio of 60.5:1, a new high in nearly 10 years. The number of people applying for civil service positions is expected to increase by 500,000 between 2021 and 2023.

The Chinese government claims that it hires approximately 200,000 civil servants annually, but in February 2023, news emerged that several provinces planned to expand civil service recruitment by more than 50%, including Gansu, Yunnan, Guangxi, and Inner Mongolia, with Gansu’s recruitment scale reaching 79.7% and Yunnan’s almost 60%.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics has not released any statistics on the total number of financially supported personnel since 2008, but it is estimated that the number of civil servants and public sector employees has increased year by year, with estimates ranging from over 60 million to 80 million people, meaning that on average, 10 to 30 Chinese people support one civil servant. In 2016, China’s Communist Party media, People’s Daily, reported that China had about 50 million financially supported personnel, with an average of 11 Chinese people supporting one civil servant, citing Professor Zhu Lijia of the National School of Administration.

Source: Radio Free Asia, April 24, 2023