China to face labor shortage

By Shangguan Zhoudong (
Updated: 2007-05-11 16:08
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China will face labor shortage in 2009, says a report issued yesterday by the Institute of Population and Labor Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Beijing Times reported.

The shortage will trigger the growth of wages for rural laborers, the report said.

Currently China only has a 52.12 million surplus in rural labor under 40 years-old, far lower than other media reports which estimated the number to be around 100 to 150 million, said Cai Fang, director of the institute.

In recent years, China's labor force supply has changed from a time of excessive supply to a state of demand-and-supply balance and soon to enter an era of labor shortage in the near future.

The current labor shortage is starting from the coastal areas and spreading to central regions of China, where most of the labor force comes from.

Cai delivered a speech with the theme of China Employment Growth and Structure Change at the 30th anniversary of the academy yesterday.

China's labor shortage also can be blamed on an aging population, an earlier report said.

In the past 25 years, China's economy maintained high growth thanks to sufficient numbers of young and middle-aged workers.

But today, China's aging population has reached the world's average level, while per capita GDP is one fifth of the world average.