At the end of last year, China’s employment population shrank for the first time on record to 776 million, a fall of 540,000 from the year before, according to census data published by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, reports Caixin.
For the seventh year in a row, the working-age population–people between 16 and 59–also reduced in size, falling 2.8% from 2011 to 2018.
All this acts as a clear indication that China’s population is aging rapidly. Li Xiru, director of the Population and Employment Department at NBS, warned last month that the employed population would further drop in the coming years.
The country’s shrinking work force adds more pressure on officials as labor costs rise, placing more strains on an economy already struggling against external headwinds.