(Bloomberg) -- China reported a steady rate of youth unemployment in March after an official warned that joblessness among young Chinese needs more scrutiny.

Unemployment rate stayed at 15.3% last month for people between 16 and 24 years old, the same as in February, according to data released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The data came days after the bureau’s deputy director Sheng Laiyun said an up-tick in the youth jobless rate in the first quarter required “a high degree of attention.” The rate for January was 14.6%. 

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The world’s second-largest economy has struggled to find a firm footing post-pandemic. While it reported strong growth in the first quarter, weaker-than-expected data on retail sales and industrial output suggested challenges on the horizon. 

Beijing stopped publishing the youth unemployment rate last summer after the number hit a historic high. Officials resumed the release in January under a new methodology that excludes students, saying it better reflects reality.

The headline urban jobless rate eased slightly to 5.2% from 5.3% in March, data published on Tuesday showed.

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