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Monday, March 2, 2009

Up to 26 million China rural migrants now jobless

The Chinese government announced Monday Feb 2,2009, as many as 26 million of China's estimated 130 million migrant workers are now unemployed with declining demand for Chinese toy, shoe and electronics exports overseas. Zhang Quanshou, an agency director in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Shenzhen, said he was seeking to adjust to the situation by first providing factory jobs to young women, seen by employers as more efficient at assembly line work. as China's economic growth — once red-hot — plunged to 6.8 percent in the final quarter of last year reversed China's long economic boom which provided migrant work, allowing millions of farmers to escape to factory jobs in better developed coastal regions. In a country where migrant workers contribute 65 percent of the average rural family's cash income, raised fear among Communist leaders of spreading unrest. Authorities have moved quickly to placate protest at factory shutdowns or to demand back pay by laysoff, in some cases using public funds to pay workers after factory owners run off.

In comparison, U.S. statistics in December showed an estimated 11.1 million Americans were without jobs, a rate of 7.2 percent unemployment that represents a 16-year high. Adding to the pressure in China are millions of urban workers laid off amid the reform of moribund state industries in recent years and college graduates soon to be entering the work force.

Premier Wen Jiabao also said of possible plans, which would follow a 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) package unveiled in November with heavy spending on public works projects in the hope of easing the unemployed pressure.
Related Topic: World economy may lose 51 million jobs

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