How China is feeling the euro debt crisis

Rob Schmitz Dec 9, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: With such a shoddy economy, Europeans aren’t buying as many Chinese goods. And China today said its industrial output slowed — again.

Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai now, regular and overtime pay is down for thousands of factory workers. And street protests are up.


Rob Schmitz: Protesting factory workers are common in a country known as the “workshop of the world.” But the situation in Europe has meant exports from China have decreased for four straight months. Hundreds of factories have closed.

And according to China Labour Bulletin’s Geoffrey Crothall, the ones that have remained open are making life more difficult for workers.

Geoffrey Crothall: What we’re seeing happening is that as the manufacturing sector contracts and orders decrease, then the overtime available to workers obviously goes down, the employers start to call back all the allowances and bonuses that they were willing to give to workers in more profitable times.

Nearly all these workers have traveled from the countryside to work long hours in these factory towns so they can send as much money home as possible.

Crothall says when managers cut overtime, workers can no longer survive on their remaining wages. The only way out, he says, is to protest for better pay or go home. And an increasing number of Chinese workers going home without jobs has become the fallout of a debt crisis half a world away.

In Shanghai, I’m Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.