China Sees Migrants Head Back to Work

From Wall Street Journal:

The effects of China’s stimulus efforts are filtering into the job market, with the government reporting that most rural migrant workers have now found new jobs after the mass layoffs of late last year.

But the downturn is still being felt in weaker growth of household incomes, which could hold back consumer spending.

Wang Yadong, a deputy director-general at China’s labor ministry, said Tuesday that less than 3% of migrant workers who have returned to cities in recent months are still looking for jobs. And 95% of migrant workers preferred to seek work in cities this year rather than go back to farming, he said.

Though Mr. Wang declined to give more detailed figures, his report still represents the first official update of migrants’ job situation since February.

Update: A Los Angeles Times report on Wang’s remarks paint a different picture:

Beijing is trying to create jobs for laid-off workers, new college graduates, migrants and others, said Wang Yadong, deputy director of job promotion at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

“The employment situation in China is still very grave. We are still under enormous pressure to provide employment services,” Wang said at a news conference.

Officials have warned that China’s recovery is not firmly established despite an acceleration in economic growth last quarter to 7.9 percent over a year earlier, up from 6.1 percent the previous quarter. That was boosted by Beijing’s 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus, which is pumping money into the economy through building highways and other public works that have created construction jobs.

“To make things worse, the financial crisis has still not bottomed out,” Wang said. “There is still a great potential risk of unemployment.”

August 4, 2009 3:55 AM
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Categories: Economy, Society