Labour shortage reportedly spreading to northeast China

The north-eastern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang have joined the Pearl River Delta, and several other regions of China, in suffering from acute labour shortages, according to reports in the official media.

Small and medium-sized enterprises in the former heavy industry heartland of Jilin are suffering from a “triple famine” (三荒), a shortage of credit, materials and labour, causing many businesses to scale back production or even declare bankruptcy, Economic Reference News (经济参考报讯) reported.

Although the overall supply of labour in Jilin was relatively abundant, many businesses in the province reported great difficulty recruiting skilled labour.

In neighbouring Heilongjiang, the Xinhua news agency reported that “structural problems” in the labour market were creating shortages there too. Rural incomes were rising and many workers were seeking employment abroad making recruitment for domestic manufacturing and processing industries difficult.

Nationally, a survey of labour supply and demand in 101 cities in the first quarter of 2011 revealed that there were about seven percent more job vacancies than there were workers seeking employment.

The survey conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security showed that there were 5,157,441 job vacancies in the first quarter but only 4,805,561 workers seeking employment. Some 56 percent of those seeking employment were unemployed and 32 percent were migrant workers.
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