China is Running out of Workers

Yes, you read that right and no, the source is not The Onion. China, with the world's largest labor force of 812.7 million, is running out of workers.

The immediate cause of the shortage is that millions of migrant workers who traveled home for the long lunar New Year earlier this month are not returning to the coast. Thanks to a half-trillion-dollar government stimulus program, jobs are being created in the interior.

But many economists say the recent global downturn also obscured a longer-term trend: China has drained its once vast reserves of unemployed workers in rural areas and is running out of fresh laborers for its factories.

Maybe they will have to offshore outsource!

Oh gee, I guess those worker barracks in the special economic zones with 12 hour days are not so attractive after all. Even more amusing they are worried about wage inflation. In Guangzhou, wages jumped to $1.17/hr when only 80¢ two years ago.

Compare China's 812.7 million workers to the paltry 154 million in the U.S. We're desperate for jobs and cannot get this government to do what is needed and there is China desperate for cheap labor. How many of these companies in China are in part U.S. owned?

Wenzhou claims to be short 1 million workers and might raise wages to $146 a month. (now you see why so many economists are demanding China float their currency?)

This snip is oh so amusing:

It remains to be seen if Chinese factories will learn from their hiring difficulties now and be less quick to lay off workers during the next global downturn.

Note U.S. corporations layoff even their best expertise at the slightest hint of a stock price decline. But when one is in the end game for cheap labor, such as China, voilà, finally, finally we see the limitations of believing one has an unlimited supply of serfs to toil away and be trashed like disposable diapers on a whim.

Wow. Did you ever see the day when the world's most populous nation would claim it has a labor shortage? My, my, what cheap, exploitable labor can do to attract business.

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