Stats Bureau: 23 Million Unemployed Migrants in China

By Liu Peng
Published: 2009-03-25

China's jobless migrant population stood at 23 million, China's Bureau of Statistics said in a statement posted on its website on March 25. The data was based on a survey by the Bureau that went until late December 2008.

The Bureau said China had over 225 million migrant workers at the end of 2008, of which over 62.3% or over 140 million worked outside their hometowns.

During the Chinese Spring Festival this year, some 70 million migrant workers returned to their hometowns. Of them, some 15.7% or 11 million, went back to  cities after the break but were still unemployed, and another 20% or 14 million, chose to stay home, the Bureau said.

The government pledged to pour 42 billion yuan into creating 9 million new jobs in 2009 during the recently-concluded top legislative meetings in Beijing. But despite the increased attention given to the issue, the migrant population combined with 7.1 million fresh college graduates this year could still add severe pressure to the ranks of China's unemploymed.

Of all migrant workers who returned home for the Spring Holiday, 64.3% came from manufacturing and construction industries, which the Bureau highlighted as being especially hurt by the economic climate.

The Bureau also said that among those migrant workers who returned home, up to 82.9% were under-educated, with 65.8% having only received a junior school education, 14.8% having only received primary school education, and 2.4% being illiterate.

The Bureau suggested that increasing training programs for migrant workers was one way to improve their employment prospects.