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China's unemployment outlays hit record $5.4bn in June

Tough job market pushes up payments to individuals and companies

Commuters wait at a Shanghai subway station in June. China's zero-COVID policy has strained the job market.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Spending by China's unemployment insurance system reached a monthly record in June on increased benefits to the jobless and payments to employers that kept workers on the payroll.

Outlays surged to 37.2 billion yuan ($5.45 billion), according to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security -- 3.6 times the year-earlier figure and the highest since monthly data began being kept in 2013.

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