(Bloomberg) -- Wages offered to new hires in China snapped three quarters of decline in the first three months of this year, suggesting an improvement in the labor market that could boost consumer spending in the world’s second-largest economy.

Average monthly salaries offered by companies to new recruits in 38 key Chinese cities rose 2.2% from a year before to 10,323 yuan ($1,426), according to data from online recruitment platform Zhaopin Ltd. compiled by Bloomberg. That was the first increase recorded since the start of 2023.

Separately, a survey of Shanghai residents published by the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics found employment conditions improved in the first quarter of the year, following two quarters in which conditions worsened.

A strengthening in wages and labor demand could go some way to boosting consumer spending. A weak job market is a key reason for low consumer confidence in China, Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Group said in a note last week.

Still, both surveys suggested conditions weaker than in previous years.

China’s economic data so far this year has been mixed, with rapid industrial output growth and signs of strong consumer spending on services around the Lunar New Year holiday alongside weak inflation and an ongoing housing market slump.

China will next week report official data on wages and employment as well as its first quarter GDP growth figure, with economists anticipating a 4.8% expansion from the previous year.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.