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October 27, 2009

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Firms face difficulties in hiring workers

MANY companies in China's southern export hub are now finding it hard to recruit staff to handle orders as exports show signs of rebounding, a Chinese official said yesterday.

The situation contrasts with earlier this year, when companies in Dongguan in Guangdong Province were forced to lay off migrant workers because of the global downturn, said Zhang Yutai, director of the Development Research Center, a think tank under the State Council, China's Cabinet.

While exports will still contract by a double-digit figure this year, they are likely to grow by 8-10 percent in 2010, Zhang told a conference organized by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

"If you go to the Pearl River Delta, or to the Yangtze, many enterprises are experiencing problems with recruitment to cope with orders," he said.

This was mostly the case with skilled workers, but in some cases the shortage applied to unskilled workers too, he said.

Zhang said exports in August had grown 3.4 percent, seasonally adjusted, over the previous month, even though they were still 23.4 percent lower than a year earlier in the first eight months of this year.

China, on some measures the world's biggest exporter, now expects exports for the whole year to come in 16-20 percent below 2008, with the decline cut by the traditional upsurge in economic activity at the end of the year, Zhang said.


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