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Published on Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A labour shortage in China

Written by Stacey Dove

Something strange is happening in China.

CSR Asia reports the following. First, Chinese factories started to lay off large numbers of workers due to the economic crisis late last year. Second, it is peak manufacturing season now, which means that – even during a financial downturn – factories producing toys, clothes, food, and every present or item sold for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween have ramped up production.

As is the case in other years, factories need to take on extra labour. Conventional wisdom would suggest those earlier layoffs would have resulted in large pool of unemployed (mostly) migrant workers looking for jobs; i.e., there has never been a better time to find willing production line workers. Workers laid off in late 2008 and through 2009 should be queuing in droves outside of factories looking for work. It seems like a perfect fit between labour supply and demand. Right?