China’s Guangdong Sees Labor Shortages

The southern Chinese province is short by about 800,000 workers.

SHANGHAI — Guangdong is experiencing more labor shortages, state media reported Thursday.

The southern Chinese province is short by about 800,000 workers, the Global Times said, citing reports from local authorities. Industries with the greatest attrition rates include textile, catering and shoe-making, the newspaper said.

Manufacturers, particularly those located in China’s eastern coastal regions, have been increasingly plagued by an insufficient labor supply as more migrant workers refuse to accept low wages and opt to find jobs in rural areas where the cost of living is lower and there are new job opportunities as the government works to build manufacturing centers elsewhere in the country.

RELATED STORY: Hong Kong January Sales Growth Slower Than Expected >>


To try to lure workers back, local governments have been raising wages. In February, Shanghai announced plans to raise the city’s monthly minimum wage by 13 percent. Shandong, a province on the northeast coast, said it would raise its monthly minimum wage by 19 percent in March, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.

Millions of migrants travel home over Chinese New Year annually; more and more have been opting to remain there rather than return to work on the coast. After the Chinese New Year holiday in 2011, Guangdong faced a shortage of around a million laborers. The vacation period for the 2012 holiday season ended around the beginning of February.