Jobless Migrants Flood Back to China’s Villages

With more factories in China closing as a result of the global financial crisis, sacked factory workers are heading home early for the holidays. From The Associated Press:

The migrants’ homecoming is flooding villages where wrinkled grandparents and ruddy-faced schoolchildren are the only residents for most of the year. The masses of unemployed and underemployed pose a major challenge for the Chinese government, which must cope with sinking economic growth while calming vast swaths of countryside that have grown used to large transfers of money from migrants working in factories and construction jobs in urban areas.

Migrant workers have an average annual income of about 8,000 yuan ($1,170), while farmers make about 4,800 ($700), said Zhang Jianping, an economist at Minzu University of China. Research from the People’s Bank of China says migrant workers contribute 65 percent of their rural family’s income.

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