CHINA> Regional
Migrant workers returning to Guangdong
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-03 09:14

GUANGZHOU -- While the effects of the global financial crisis are not yet in the past, many migrant workers are back on the job in the province of Guangdong, one of China's economic powerhouses, after the traditional respite of the Spring Festival.

Zhao Wulin from Central China's Hubei province is one of them.

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"I received a message from the human resources manager of my factory before the Spring Festival, to the effect that the factory welcomed me back, so I just hurried back," Zhao told China Daily yesterday while waiting for the train bound for Dongguan.

In his early 20s, Zhao worked for a hardware factory in Zhangmutou township of the Pearl River Delta boomtown of Dongguan for the past couple of years. He returned to his hometown in early January, long before the Spring Festival began, as there was not much work to do.

"I dare not hesitate any longer as I realize that it is even more difficult to make a living in my hometown and the case in other cities is no better," he said.

Migrant workers arrive at the Guangzhou Railway Station in Guangdong province, January 7, 2009. [China Daily]

"Anyway, I've lived in the Pearl River Delta for some years and there are more job opportunities, although the income may be a bit lower than in the previous few years," he added.

According to a bulletin released on the website of the provincial labor department, about 1.68 million migrant workers returned to Guangdong from Monday to Friday of last week.

Over 90 percent of them returned to their original positions; about 8 percent found vacancies, and less than 2 percent came seeking new jobs, the bulletin said, basing the outcome on its sampled survey.

"Those migrant workers who are still holding a wait-and-see attitude and those who are to look for jobs in Guangdong may come after the Lantern Festival, which falls on Feb 9, as the Lantern Festival marks the real end of the Spring Festival holiday," predicted Liang Jiamin, a press official with the provincial labor and social security department.

"The provincial department has been doing much work including the endeavor to make the human resources market information transparent to prevent the migrant population from heading in blind to the province for a job," the official added.

Lin Shufan, an associate professor of human resources with South China Normal University, however, worries about the inflow of the migrant population to the province.

"The labor demand at different levels will definitely shrink in the province this year as the economy slows down," she said. "I'm afraid more social problems will crop up when the greater migrant population cannot find a job here."