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Job loses mounting in China

Workers at a semi-hightech factory in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: China is feeling the global economic fallout as well. Unemployment is gripping all levels in society. Workers' strikes are mounting and social unrest is on the rise. From Shanghai, here's Marketplace's Scott Tong.


Scott Tong: A new report finds the jobless rate in Chinese cities tops 9 percent. Unemployment for new college grads: 12 percent. U.S. numbers look rosy by comparison. And more factories here close every day, since American consumers aren't buying.

Labor activist Apo Leong is watching for possible unrest in early 2009. That's just after the Chinese New Year holiday in late January.

Apo Leong: When the workers come back from their holidays, they may not find the factory gate open to them again, if there's no fresh orders. Then you can see the immediate effect.

As in disgruntled peasants. To prevent that, the government plans to spend a whopping 2 or 3 percent of GDP to create and preserve jobs. If it doesn't work, Leong is preparing for "social nightmare." Those more optimistic say this feels nothing like 1989, the year of the Tiananmen protests and crackdown.

In Shanghai, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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