In this undated file photo, workers operate a microchip production line at a factory in Sihong, Jiangsu province. (XU CHANGLIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY)
BEIJING – China's economy posted steady growth in 2022 despite pressures including epidemic resurgences and a complicated external environment.
China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3 percent year-on-year to a record high of 121.0207 trillion yuan ($17.95 trillion) in 2022, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Tuesday.
In the fourth quarter, the country's GDP expanded 2.9 percent year-on-year.
"The national economy continued to develop despite downward pressure, the economic output reached a new level, the employment and prices were generally stable, people's lives were continuously improved, new achievements were secured in high-quality development, and the overall economic and social development was stable and healthy," said Kang Yi, head of the NBS, at a press conference.
In the fourth quarter, China's gross domestic product expanded 2.9 percent year-on-year
However, the foundation of domestic economic recovery is not solid as the international situation is still complicated and severe while the domestic triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations is still looming, Kang said.
China will make economic stability its top priority and pursue progress while ensuring stability this year, he said.
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Industrial output sustains growth
NBS data also showed China's industrial production sustained its development in 2022, with the high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing sectors posting robust performance.
The value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, went up 3.6 percent year on year in 2022, according to Tuesday's data.
Kang Yi, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, said that China's total value-added industrial production hit 40.2 trillion yuan, while the manufacturing sector's output reached 33.5 trillion yuan, both ranking first globally
The country's industrial sector continued to serve as the "ballast stone" of its economy, said Kang.
The contribution rate of the industrial sector to economic growth has reached 36 percent, Kang said.
He added that China's total value-added industrial production hit 40.2 trillion yuan, while the manufacturing sector's output reached 33.5 trillion yuan, both ranking first globally.
A breakdown of the figure by industries showed the mining industry's output increased by 7.3 percent last year, while that of the manufacturing sector rose by 3 percent.
Specifically, the high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing sectors posted strong growth momentum, with their output values jumping 7.4 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively, both higher than the overall industrial output growth.
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By ownership, state-controlled enterprises saw a 3.3 percent increase in output in 2022, while the private sector's output grew 2.9 percent.
In terms of product types, new-energy vehicle output logged the most notable increase of 97.5 percent year on year in 2022.
The industrial output measures the activity of large enterprises each with an annual main business turnover of at least 20 million yuan.
In December alone, the industrial output grew 1.3 percent from a year earlier and 0.06 percent from November, the NBS said.
The National Bureau of Statistics said the country's value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, went up 3.6 percent year-on-year in 2022
Online retail sales up
Meanwhile, China's online retail sales expanded 4 percent year-on-year in 2022 to nearly 13.8 trillion yuan, the NBS said.
In breakdown, online retail sales of physical goods climbed 6.2 percent year-on-year, NBS data showed.
The country's total retail sales of consumer goods last year dipped 0.2 percent over the previous year, but December data showed a recovery trend in consumption.
Consumption contributed 32.8 percent to China's 3 percent GDP growth in 2022. "China is still the world's second-largest consumption market and the top online retail market on earth," said Kang.
Kang expressed "full confidence" in the consumption market in 2023, citing the vast community of consumers, the recovery of offline spending activities, the emergence of new consumption patterns, and the steady income increase with stable employment.
Livestreaming booths are seen at a shopping gala held by Alibaba Group's Taobao in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Fixed-asset investment expands
Meanwhile, China's fixed-asset investment saw a steady expansion in 2022, according to the NBS.
Last year, the fixed-asset investment rose 5.1 percent year-on-year to over 57.21 trillion yuan.
In December alone, the fixed-asset investment increased 0.49 percent month-on-month.
The growth of resident income was basically in line with the expansion of the Chinese economy, and rural residents saw a faster income growth than urban residents last year, according to the NBS
Investment in infrastructure and manufacturing climbed 9.4 percent and 9.1 percent from a year earlier in 2022, respectively. Investment in property development fell 10 percent year-on-year.
Resident nominal disposable income up
Tuesday's data also showed China's per capita disposable income stood at 36,883 yuan in 2022, up 5 percent year-on-year in nominal terms.
After deducting price factors, per capita disposable income rose 2.9 percent from the previous year.
The growth of resident income was basically in line with the expansion of the Chinese economy, and rural residents saw a faster income growth than urban residents last year, according to the NBS.
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Candidates look at employment opportunities at a job fair in Hefei, Anhui province, on May 17, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Stable job market
China's job market remained generally stable in 2022, according to the NBS, with a total of 12.06 million new urban jobs created last year, exceeding the annual target of 11 million.
Faced with challenges in ensuring employment, China has stuck to an employment-first policy and rolled out a raft of effective measures, with emphasis put on the key groups, said Kang.
"Due to the epidemic resurgence, small and medium-sized enterprises faced greater difficulties in 2022, making it harder for key groups, especially young people, to land jobs," Kang said.
China's job market remained generally stable in 2022, according to the NBS, with a total of 12.06 million new urban jobs created last year, exceeding the annual target of 11 million
Kang noted that the job market had perked up recently, with pro-growth policies and follow-up measures gradually taking effect.
NBS data showed that China's surveyed urban unemployment rate came in at 5.5 percent in December last year – easing 0.2 percentage points from the previous month.
Specifically, the surveyed unemployment rate among those aged between 16 and 24 dropped by 0.4 percentage points from November to 16.7 percent in December, while the rate among those aged between 25 and 59, the majority of the labor market, stood at 4.8 percent, the data revealed.
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The surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities stood at 6.1 percent in December 2022, down 0.6 percentage points from the previous month.
In 2022, the number of rural migrant workers totaled 295.62 million, an increase of 3.11 million, or 1.1 percent compared to the previous year. This figure was higher than the pre-pandemic level registered in 2019, according to the NBS.
Kang estimated China's number of college graduates to top 11.5 million this year, placing pressure on the country's job market, but he expressed confidence in overcoming this challenge.
"As the economy recovers and hiring demand rises, job openings are also expected to increase. China's job market will see an overall improvement this year," Kang said.
Factors including work and production resumption, the revival of the services sector, and the rapid development of new growth drivers, are among favorable factors that help create job opportunities, Kang said.