Lines stretch hundreds of meters around temples in China on weekends, as despondent young worshippers pray to find jobs in an economy slowly clawing its way back from the coronavirus pandemic.

"I hope to find some peace in temples," said 22-year-old Wang Xiaoning, pointing to "the pressure of finding a job" and housing costs that are out of reach.

Wang is among a record 11.58 million university graduates who face a job market still reeling from last year's stringent "zero-COVID" lockdowns as well as crackdowns on the technology and education sectors — both key traditional hirers.