A month after returning home from a factory job in China's eastern coast, 19-year-old Hu Yanjiao was still struggling to readjust to the life in her hinterland farming village of Gangli.
"I'm not yet used to the idleness here. There's not much farming work or whatever to do. I feel a little bored," said Hu.
In the past two years, Hu toiled long hours at a Taiwanese-invested electronic plant making auto GPS in Kunshan City of east China's Jiangsu Province. She quitted her job in January.
Hu said she had been feeling the pinch of global financial crisis since last October, when her factory began to lay off workers. By the time she left, nearly one-fourth of the 400 employees in her section had been fired.
Although she was lucky enough not to be among them, Hu said her income dropped dramatically as the factory received fewer orders and she no longer needed to work overtime.
"I used to get about 1,200 yuan (175 U.S. dollars) each month and now just 500. So I quit and returned home."
Hu, from Changge County of central Henan Province, is one of the country's 20 million migrant workers left jobless in the wake of the economic downturn in the past few months. Most of them returned home before the Spring Festival, or Chinese lunar New Year, the most important Chinese festival for family reunions. The holiday fell on Jan. 26 this year.
Having been away from home since graduating from a local junior middle school at 16, Hu said she knew nothing of the farming work nor was she willing to learn it.
"I still want a job in the cities," she said.
Donning the urban fashion of a white fur coat and blue jeans, she said she cherished memories of the city life, where off hours were often spent hanging out with friends at shopping malls.
Hu said she was not as anxious or pessimistic as people would expect her to be.
"A job is not hard to find, anyway, be it in the cities or near my hometown. What I want now is just a better-paid one."
In the past month she had tried several job vacancies in the county seat near her home, but was not ready to accept them as the pay they offered were all just about 500 yuan. She said she will interview for a job as a waitresses in a western-style restaurant that pays 700 to 800 yuan.
In Qixian County about 160 km away from Hu's home, laid-off migrant worker Song Zhenzhen was taking classes in Chaoyue Computer School, which offers free short-term skills training to rural job seekers and migrant workers.
The 20-year-old has a similar story to Hu's. After working for two years in a cell phone factory in Dongguan of southern Guangdong Province, a major manufacturing base in China, she lost her job last December and returned home.
With a dream of returning to the warm south, she decided to take a three-month training course designed to give trainees an edge in job searching.
Henan is a major source of China's estimated 130 million rural migrant workers, Qixian is one of the province's most important labor source markets, exporting 240,000 migrants to the southern and eastern coasts last year.
However, last January saw up to 10,000 of the migrant workers returning home jobless, according to Sun Xiaode, deputy director of the county's labor bureau.
Henan recorded 9.5 million returned migrant workers, 3 million of whom might have difficulty to find new jobs. The provincial government has leveraged policies including a government-subsidized project that will retrain 2 million migrants and offering business loans of 1.5 billion yuan to an estimated 100,000, whose businesses are expected to employ about 1 million.
Sun added that of those returning to Qixian, more than half had left for the cities again and about 40 percent were trying to find new jobs near their homes or enroll in training classes.
The government offers a subsidy of 400-600 yuan for the short-term training of each migrant worker. There are 11 such training facilities in the county alone, Sun said.
As another beneficiary of the preferential policies, 27-year-old former migrant Liu Chenglong opened a garment shop in Qixian's commercial center with his savings and a business loan of200,000 yuan (29,250 U.S. dollars).
Liu, started his business last October after returning from a company in east Zhejiang Province. He now employs five salespersons, including two former migrants.
"The business has been quite good since opening," he said. He expects to turn a profit in four years.
The central government's first policy document of the year, issued on Feb. 1, has urged local governments to give focus on the problems rural migrants face -- including unemployment and decreased pays -- and called for the enforcement of measures that help them find new jobs and increase their income.
"To tell you the truth, I was very embarrassed and at a loss when returning home jobless two months ago," said Song Zhenzhen. "But the training has given me confidence. With the new skills and my past working experience, I'm sure I can find a good job in the south," said a smiling Song.