By Jacob L. Shapiro
China has crossed a line on its commitment to employment as a foundation of social stability. Since 2002, China has refused to engage in policies that would result in mass numbers of workers losing their jobs, or even to acknowledge any large fluctuations in unemployment. But China has decided not only to change its stance, but to do so publicly. A critical component of both our annual and 25-year forecast is the inevitable economic challenges China will face, and recent reports about large numbers of Chinese workers being laid off in the next few years is a significant step forward in our model.
On Feb. 29, Chinese Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin said China would eliminate 1.8 million jobs in the coal and steel industries on an undefined timeline. Then today Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources with ties to the Chinese leadership, that 5 million to 6 million state workers would be laid off over the course of the next two to