There are two million jobs available in factories in South China, according to Xinhua today.
The apparent labor shortage comes, Xinhua says, only a year after 20 million migrant workers were forced to return home because exports, and therefore their jobs, evaporated during the financial crisis.
According to Xinhua, which polled the local labor bureaus, there were 800,000 jobs unfilled in Shenzhen in the final quarter of 2009, and 200,000 jobs going in nearby Dongguan. Around 80% of the jobs are factory positions.
The Global Times quotes Jia Yuxing, an HR manager for an electronics company in Dongguan. He says he had to rush back from the Chinese New Year early (!) because his boss asked him to recruit 1,000 extra workers because of quickening demand.
There have been rumblings from factory owners on the coast about not being able to fill jobs, and perhaps there are some migrant workers who decided to relocate inland, where the stimulus package has helped to create new positions.
However, it’s difficult to take the report too seriously. Migrant workers generally do not return to their jobs until the Lantern festival, which falls this year on February 28. Until then, it is difficult to judge how empty the factories are, or whether they are having problems recruiting.
My guess is that this article is aimed at the migrant workers themselves, a sort of propaganda push, if you will, to persuade them that there are jobs for them when they return from their holidays.
(Incidentally, if there really is a shortage, it does not bode well for the inflationary pressures that have already built up in the economy.)