Unemployment in Dongguan, a key manufacturing hub in south China, has risen by 10% since the start of the global economic downturn, the Financial Times reported. Li Yuquan, mayor of Dongguan, said registered employment has fallen to 5.7 million, implying a net loss of 630,000 jobs, as the city bore the brunt of the 24% year-on-year decline in exports over the first six months of 2009. Dongguan posted GDP growth of just 0.6% in the first half, compared to the national figure of 7.1%. The city’s average annual growth over the last 30 years has been 18%. Li said the local government has earmarked US$147 million in emergency funding for smaller enterprises and a further US$588 million for technological improvements, research and development and worker training. Although 342 smaller factories closed in the first half of this year on top of some 865 in 2008, Li said the main impact of the downturn has been shrinking orders and manufacturing capacity, not closures.
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