Posts tagged ‘Labour economics’


China Unveils Blueprint to Upgrade Manufacturing Sector – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China unveiled an ambitious plan to enhance the competitiveness of its manufacturing sector by encouraging innovation and raising efficiency in an effort to boost economic growth. As the WSJ reports:

The blueprint, titled “Made in China 2025,” comes as China’s factories are struggling with sluggish demand, increasing competition from other developing economies and a slowing domestic economy.

The manufacturing sector is facing new challenges: bigger constraints from the environment and resources, rising labor costs and a notable slowdown in investment and exports, the State Council, or cabinet, said on the main government website Tuesday.

“The key to creating a new driver of economic growth…lies in the manufacturing sector,” it said.

The government vowed to boost 10 high-technology industrial sectors including robotics, aerospace, new-energy vehicles and advanced transport.

via China Unveils Blueprint to Upgrade Manufacturing Sector – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


China pulls out stops to avoid lay-offs as economy cools | Reuters

As growth in China’s sagging economy looks on the verge of spilling below 7 percent, officials worried about a spike in unemployment are pulling out all the stops to avoid mass lay-offs.

State firms are encouraged to keep idle workers employed, subsidies and tax breaks are given to companies that do not fire their workers, and some businesses are even enticed into hiring despite the slackening economic growth.

The measures appear to be working for now, said a senior economist at the Development Research Center, a think-tank affiliated to China’s cabinet.

“There is no big problem in employment. They (top leaders) are more worried about financial risks and debt risks,” said the economist, who declined to be named.

But things could change quickly.

In one of the first signs of distress in China’s labor market, the Liaoning government said in April it had slashed its 2015 job creation target to 400,000 from 700,000, to reflect a “severe” employment trend.

That came in the wake of data that showed Liaoning, one of three rustbelt provinces in northeastern China, grew just 1.9 percent in the first three months of the year, the slowest of China’s 31 provinces and regions.

Disappearing job opportunities or a spike in unemployment are always a concern for China’s stability-obsessed government, especially with 7.5 million university graduates estimated to join the labor market this year.

via China pulls out stops to avoid lay-offs as economy cools | Reuters.


China’s Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Looks – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, has said repeatedly how happy he is with the strength of the country’s job market, despite a slowing economy. That’s the main reason he sees little need to ease policy aggressively to spur growth, he says.

Officials attribute low unemployment to a drop in the working-age population, along with the development of the service sector, which is more labor-intensive than manufacturing.

But a deeper look into the government’s jobs data shows that the current employment situation is more worrisome than it appears. Across China’s cities, 10.82 million new jobs were created over the first nine months of the year, up 1.5% from the same period of 2013, according to official data released on Friday. That’s slowest rise in five years.

Migrant workers are normally the first to take the brunt of an economic slowdown, since more than one fifth of them work in the construction sector, which is highly sensitive to economic cycles. Employers also tend fire migrant workers first if business is bad rather than laying off urbanites with permanent resident status, economists have said.

“Over the past few years, especially after 2009, the government stepped up investment in infrastructure and property market. That has created many job opportunities for migrant workers,” said Li Shi, an economics professor at Beijing Normal University. “But now a sluggish property market has affected migrant workers.”

The global financial crisis cut China’s economic growth from double-digit rates to 6.6% in early 2009, and left some 200 million migrant laborers facing unemployment and a fraying safety net.

The government responded with a four trillion yuan ($650 billion) stimulus package that helped China rebound rapidly from the global downturn, but also resulted in a series of problems such as industrial overcapacity and environmental pollution.

This time around the economic situation is less dire, and the reaction has been more restrained. Since economic growth started to falter earlier this year, policy makers have contented themselves with a series of targeted easing measures like accelerated spending on infrastructure and special lending programs from the central bank. They have also brought in measures to spur mortgage lending and reduce financing costs and tax burdens for small firms.

via China’s Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Looks – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


China taps tech training to tackle labor market mismatch | Reuters

China is waking up to a potentially damaging mismatch in its labor market.

Job seekers attend a job fair at Tianjin University November 22, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A record 7.27 million graduates – equivalent to the entire population of Hong Kong – will enter the job market this year; a market that has a shortage of skilled workers.

Yet many of these university and college students are ill-equipped to fill those jobs, prompting the government to look at how it can overhaul the higher education system to bridge the gap. The problem is part structural, part attitude.

While most liberal arts students are still looking for work after graduating this summer, 22-year-old Li Xidong is preparing to start a job as an electrician that he landed well before finishing three years of training at a small vocational school.

Li’s diploma may appear less impressive, but his coveted job in a tight labor market may hold the key to the employment conundrum in the world’s second largest economy. The machinery sector alone projects a gap of 600,000 computer-automated machine tool operators this year, media have reported.

“We’re trained as skilled workers, it’s quite easy for us to find jobs while still in school,” said Li, who is in the final stretch of a 3-year program at Hebei Energy College of Vocation and Technology in Tangshan, an industrial city 180 kms (112 miles) east of Beijing.

“Seventy percent of our class found work and some others are starting their own businesses,” Li noted, as he waited for a friend at a recruitment fair in the capital, where fewer than a third of this year’s university graduates had found work by end-April.

The government has said it plans to refocus more than 600 local academic colleges on vocational and technical education – replacing literature, history and philosophy with technology skills such as how to maintain lathes and build ventilation systems. Course curricula will be tailored to meet employers’ specific needs.

Pilot programs will be launched this year, and 150 local universities have signed up for the education ministry’s plan, the official Xinhua news agency has reported.

via China taps tech training to tackle labor market mismatch | Reuters.

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Chinese College Grads Choose Jobs Over More Study – Businessweek

As China’s college students prepare for graduation, more are aiming to join the job market than ever before.

Job seekers in Hong Kong

More than 76 percent of those surveyed say they plan to begin working immediately after graduation, up from 73.6 percent last year and 68.5 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, about one-fifth say they will continue with higher education and 4 percent plan to start their own businesses.

That’s shown in an annual survey by, one of China’s largest job-seeking websites, which was released on April 15. Zhaopin canvassed more than 52,000 college students across China, 70 percent of which were in their final year as undergraduates, with the remainder being graduate students.

via Chinese College Grads Choose Jobs Over More Study – Businessweek.

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