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Chinese provinces lower wage growth targets amid slowing economy

(Xinhua)

08:14, June 26, 2012

BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- More than one-third of China's provincial-level governments have released wage growth targets for workers this year, with most of them trimming down salary increases as companies face decreasing profits amid a slowing economy.

Of the 12 local governments that have released wage plans, most have targeted 14-percent wage growth this year, the Economic Information Daily reported Monday.

However, the growth target was relatively low compared to that of last year. For example, the targets set in Hebei and Shaanxi provinces as well as Shanghai this year were lowered by as much as three percentage points, the report said.

Analysts say the downshift shows that local regions are cautious in regulating wage growth as the economic outlook for this year remains uncertain.

Government data show that profits from the nation's state-owned enterprises fell 10.4 percent year on year to 830.13 billion yuan (133.56 billion U.S. dollars) in the first five months this year.

"Overly fast wage increases will push up costs for enterprises, and may even cause challenges for the operation of small and medium-sized companies," said Yang Liming, a labor and wage researcher with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Yuan Lei, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China's exports may slow further this year amid a weak global economic recovery, which will create even greater pressure for export-oriented companies in hiking workers' wages.

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