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Labor shortage expected to hit after Spring Festival

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou  (China Daily)

10:18, February 01, 2013

Labor shortages in the southern province of Guangdong are expected to worsen after Spring Festival.

The labor shortfall is expected to reach between 1 million and 1.2 million, as a large number of migrant workers have returned home for family reunions, according to Guangdong Human Resources and Social Security Department on Thursday.

Guangdong, where a number of foreign-funded companies, joint ventures and privately run firms are located, normally has a shortage of about 400,000 workers, labor authorities said.

More than 10 million migrant workers, or 61 percent of the total in Guangdong, will leave the province known as the "world's factory", to return home for the Lunar New Year.

Ninety percent of those workers have expressed a wish to return after the festival.

Labor demand from Guangdong's companies will grow this year because of the province's steady economic growth, authorities said.

Guangdong companies' labor demands have increased by 15.2 percent compared with the end of 2011, according to the provincial department of human resources and social security.

Ou Zhenzhi, director of the department, said many companies in Guangdong will suffer labor shortages in the short term, because the companies attracted orders at the beginning of the calendar year, but most of their workers have returned home for Spring Festival.

He urged government departments to make efforts to monitor the labor shortage situation and do what they can to protect the rights of migrant workers.

Ou said his department is considering further raising the minimum wage and improving the work and living conditions of migrant workers, to help ease the labor shortage.

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