Economic slowdown left 20 mn jobless: China

February 2nd, 2009 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Feb 2 (Xinhua) About 20 million of China’s migrant workers have returned home after losing their jobs as the global financial crisis takes a toll on the economy, an official said here Monday.”Due to the economic downturn, about 20 million rural migrant workers have either lost their jobs or have not yet found employment and have gone home to the countryside,” said Chen Xiwen, a senior rural planning official.

The figures were based on a survey conducted by agriculture ministry in 150 villages in 15 provinces. It was carried out before the week-long Lunar New Year holiday that began Jan 25.

His remarks came a day after the central government issued its first document of the year, which warned 2009 will be “possibly the toughest year” since the turn of the century in terms of securing economic development and consolidating the “sound development momentum” in agriculture and rural areas.

The country’s economic growth slowed to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, dragging down the annual rate to a seven-year low of nine percent.

The document urged local and central government departments to adopt measures to create jobs and increase rural incomes.

Companies were asked to take on more social responsibilities and give rural migrant workers more favourable employment treatment. Flexible employment policies and more training chances were also encouraged.

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