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China faces labor shortage as “migrant miracle” fades

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China’s labour force is shrinking and the “migrant miracle” that powered its industrial rise is mostly exhausted, removing the key drivers of the country’s meteoric growth, according to leading economists.

一些著名经济学家表示,中国的劳动力队伍正在萎缩,驱动工业腾飞的“移民奇迹”几近枯竭,这使中国失去了推动经济飞速发展的关键驱动力。

 

The transformation will lead to slower growth, reduced investment and a loss of competitiveness, increasing the urgency of reforms to fuel new sources of expansion, they warn.

他们警告称,这一转变将导致增长放缓、投资减少和竞争力缺失,使实施改革以发掘新的增长源变得更为紧迫。

 

Today the Financial Times begins a series on the end of the miracle — the three decades of rapid growth fuelled by unprecedented migration of labour from the unproductive farm sector to work in factories and construction.

30年来,推动中国飞速发展的,是从生产力低下的农业部门转移到工厂和建设工地、规模前所未有的劳动力迁徙。FT中文网近期将发表一系列关于中国劳动力迁徙潮及其起伏兴衰之趋势的报道。

 

Consensus has emerged that China has reached the point at which the once-inexhaustible pool of surplus rural labour dries up and wages rise rapidly.

经济学家们形成的共识是,中国已经到达一个拐点,曾经取之不尽的农村富余劳动力正慢慢干涸,工资水平迅速上升。

 

 “Now we are at the so-called Lewis inflection point,” said Ha Jiming, chief investment strategist for private wealth management at Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong. “The working-age share of China’s population peaks this year at 72 per cent, then it will start to fall even more rapidly than what we saw in Japan in the 1990s.”

“我们现在正处于所谓的刘易斯拐点,”高盛(Goldman Sachs)香港私人财富管理首席投资策略师哈继铭说,“今年中国工龄人口在总人口中的比例达到了72%的峰值,此后这一比例将加快下降,降速比上世纪90年代的日本还要快。”

 

Cai Fang, director of the Institute of Population and Labour Economics, estimates China’s potential gross domestic product growth will fall to 6.1 per cent from 2016-20.

人口与劳动经济研究所所长蔡昉估计,中国的潜在国内生产总值(GDP)增长率将在2016到2020年间跌至6.1%。

 

Since Deng Xiaoping launched market reforms in 1978, 278m migrant workers from rural villages have moved to the cities. But the process is now mostly complete. Mr Cai said: “From 2005 to 2010, the growth rate of migrant workers was 4 per cent. Last year it was only 1.3 per cent. Maybe this year it will contract.”

自1978年邓小平推出市场改革后,已有2.78亿农民工从农村迁移到城市。但这一进程现在已经几近完成。蔡昉说:“从2005年到2010年,农民工人数的增长率是4%。去年这一增长率仅为1.3%。今年这个数字可能出现缩减。”

2016-06-23

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