More Migrant Workers Unemployed

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The latest official numbers now say that 20 million out of China’s 130 million migrant workers are unemployed. The figure is double what the estimates were just a few weeks ago when I was down in Hunan province talking with people who had returned from factories on the coast because of a lack of work. That was before Chinese New Year. The holiday is slowly winding down here ahead of one last hurrah next week. At that point migrant workers would normally begin returning to work. But with far fewer jobs to go back to, it will also be the time when more extreme signs of economic-related unrest will likely emerge. People in Hunan said they wanted to enjoy their holiday, then see what comes next. The picture that’s emerging isn’t very pretty.