China labourors Kevin Frayer/Stringer/Getty Images

中国的失业率数据失真了吗?

上海—“今年以来,中国经济运行稳中有进,上半年GDP同比增长7.6%;5%的调查失业率和2.4%的通胀率,均处于合理、可控范围。”这是中国总理李克强2013年9月在英国《金融时报》发表的文章中首次披露了中国上半年的调查失业率为5%”。2014年7月国务院决定适时向社会公布大城市的调查失业率数据。令人不解的是,这一承诺至今还未兑现。但更令人费解的是,尽管中国经济这些年在不断减速,但国家统计局联合劳动和社会保障部定期公布的城镇登记失业率并没有什么实质性的变化,总是维持在4.1%左右,使这一数据几乎没有了任何参考价值。这让很多关注和试图理解中国经济的人士感到困惑,难道国家统计局在撒谎吗?

当然不是这么回事,事情也不会这么简单。国家统计局的调查失业率是基于那些在城市拥有户籍并向政府部门登记并领取救济金的失业人口为依据的,但与发达国家不同,因为失业保障和就业指导体系不健全,中国有太多的人并没有向政府部门登记失业和寻求再就业的激励,所以,这个登记失业率虽然是客观的,但却是失真的。正是这个缺陷敦促了政府在2005年决定开展城镇失业调查以获得更准确的数据。

我们还在等待中,看看政府适时公布其城市调查失业率到底是多少。不过,一些经学家几年前就开始利用人口普查或城市家庭收支调查(Urban Households Survey)的有限数据来试图估计这些年来的真实失业率了。例如,Han and Zhang(2010)用了UHS中6个省份的数据,推算出2005-2006的失业率约为10%。在一篇2015年刊载于NBER工作论文系列中的论文中,Feng与另外两位合作者利用几乎涵盖全部省份在1988-2009年的UHS数据,估计出2002-2009年的失业率平均约为11%。这是目前为止我看到的最高的失业率了。由于数据非常零碎和不完整,根据同一作者的估计,2002年之前的失业率平均约为4-12%之间。这样的结果当然也没有太大的参考价值。

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