China’s labor force is expected to drop to 906 million workers in 2016, pushing up labor costs and prompting firms to relocate outside the mainland, a leading demographer said. The country’s working-age population between the ages of 16 and 59 has declined for three straight years since 2012, said Zeng Xiangquan, head of the China Institute for Employment Research at Renmin University, at a seminar on Saturday, according to Caixin. This downward trend will continue, with the country’s workforce shrinking to about 700 million people by 2050, Li Zhong, spokesperson for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said in July. Rising labor shortages have pushed up salaries, forcing manufacturers to relocate to Southeast Asia as factories in China are struggling to recruit new workers, Zeng said.
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