China’s Unlikely Shortage: Labor

Posted on May 2, 2006 

China’s Unlikely Shortage: Labor

One of the defining myths of modern China — that it has a bottomless well of unskilled, low-wage laborers — is coming apart at the seams. And hardest hit are the southern coastal cities that produce much of America’s consumer bounty.

What began two years ago as a temporary blip in the steady supply of migrants to China’s export hub, where low wages and long hours are the norm, has become a constant problem for factory bosses.

Some are responding with perks to attract job applicants as “Help Wanted” ads go unanswered. Others are subcontracting work to inland cities, chasing the young, single workers that once came knocking on their factory gates but are now in shorter supply.

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