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Q: What do you think unemployment really is here?

I was talking to a buddy of mine (smart guy whose opinion I respect) with a Chinese wife, he saying that he would estimate unemployment in China at something absurd like 40%+ just based on his observations of what chinese familes are like. 

 

The way he tells it. In a given family unit, there are jobs considered beneath them, whatever level they think they are, and then out of 6 working age adults in an extended family, 2 or 3 of them will have real careers, 1-2 will suck it up doing something dumb and then 2-3 can't find work they are willing to do and freeload off the others.

 

I brought this up to some of my workmates today and they all laughed and brought up a cousin or two that is doing that to them! So, I think it's fair to say this is pretty common. Regardless everyone agrees that unemployment hear is sky high

 

I don't really interact with many local families, but I can tell you that lots of public places are pretty crowded during business hours so I can believe there are tons of people around who aren't at work.

 

What are your guys thoughts? you think that if you count people here who arne't actively looking for a job you could get to even 30%+ unemployment?

6 years 17 weeks ago in  Housing - China

 
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Considering the number of meanings "having a job" has in China, I'd say anyone would have a hard time even defining a scope, not mentioning making statistics.

 

If you take the strictest definition of the term, aka a legally declared job and all, then yeah I would expect a pretty "high" unemployment rate.

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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I read a statistic that said there were 300,000,000 unemployed people in China. That is the population of the U.S.

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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In America the official definition of unemployed means looking for a job but not having one...

so ALL retired people

All people not looking for work

All people with a PT job

All people who work in illegal enterprises...

Are not unemployed.

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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I wouldn't doubt it at all. And also as mentioned above, it depends on the terms of unemployment... 

 

Some sort of make a living doing odds and end jobs or working for a family member or relative... which is a job but certainly not a proper one. 

 

In my wife's family, all the men work and all the females don't. My wife only works on the weekends (teaching English with her classes) and her brother, cousin, father, mother (possible even the rest) were given jobs through family or friendly connections. 

 

I can see why they place connections so high here. Most don't have the drive, ambition or foresight to build their way... so most of them do leech of the other ones in the family that are more successful. Creating burdens of themselves and they don't even mind that they ARE burdens. 

 

Children expect jobs handed to them now and don't want to grind out a career. The government is trying to combat unemployment by making redundant jobs...

 

Like I saw a sidewalk area changed three times in a two months... for no reason other than to keep the workers busy I believe. And not only that, there was 10 workers when the job clearly only required like 3-4. 

 

China has an illusion that it is moving forward quickly and growing but I think the unemployment rate in the hundreds of millions. 

 

 

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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General

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It sure is an interesting question that I'm also often pondering. Of course the number largely depends on how you define being unemployed.

 

The official unemployment rate is put at 4%, which is just hilarious. Personally I have no idea what the actual figure is but I would guesstimate somewhere in the 15-20% region. 40%+ seems way too high although there are regional fluctuations of course. 

 

In one of his books Jonathan Fenby noted that 6.5 million people graduate from Chinese universities every year even though there are only 2.5 million suitable jobs available to them. In turn that means that 2.5 million take blue collar or service industry jobs while another 1 million are facing long-term unemployment. It means that more than half of the people graduating with a degree are looking at low-level jobs or no job at all! So underemployment is a huge problem too.

 

Unemployment and underemployment can definitely be added to constantly expanding list of social problems in China that might result in social revolt in the future....   

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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The other day I was at the police station for some paperwork, need a new registration of residence or whatever it is called. The police station has ONE person who only does registration of foreigners. Now, I am not sure how many foreigners there are in Zhuhai, but considering there are at least 10 of these police stations, I'd be very surprised if this woman averages one client per day. I would categorize this as "being on social benefits" rather than "working".... and it is like that everywhere you look. At my MILs former place of work, a gubbermint facility, they have 5 po-lice officers to open the gate for cars.... that is FIVE people to man ONE gate 24/7, holidays included. 

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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I'm no expert, but can we really keep 7.2+ billion productively engaged? And what are the consequences if large numbers are not productively engaged?

 

If I must make this post about China, so be it. Change the population figure to 1.355+ billion.

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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I think the number is surprisingly high but it depends on what you call employed. I think of people at least attempting to support themselves. For example. My FIL has some red wood furniture busineses. Did my wife and her brother "work"? Yes in the sense that they went to the office and collected money. No in the fact that they played on their phone all day, showed up after lunch and only collected whatever money their dad thought they deserved.

Usless? Certainly. Unemployed? I dont know if that counts or not. In guangdong this is extremely common. The parents got money from land deals, started a business that the kids work in.

My wife has 5 real friends. One works in parents dried seafood shop. One was given a training center to fail. One works in her husbands copy purse factory. One used her husbands money to prop up a milk powder company. ( i havent heard about it in a while, maybe its gone) and another " works in a jade shop" started by a rich uncle so they could so something and her sister actually works and gives her an allowance. All technically employed. None could rent a room for themselves. BTW are they all in the bar right this second on a work night while im at home on the sofa waiting for the weekend? You betcha! Do they all consider themselves successful? You bet your ass.
The future looks bright indeed.

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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Think of all the 'busy work' jobs there are as well:

"Greeters" at the doors of restaurants and hairdressers

more shop assistants than are really necessary.

in local parks I have seen armies of workers manually doing work that could be done by fewer people and equipment.

We have all seen businesses that have employees spend more time online that being productive.

Unemployment would be a lot worse without these low-paid jobs

 

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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World GDP (PPP) per capita by country (2012)

The graphics shows the contribution of one worker in one country to the world's capital production. It gives an idea of various country productivity. Of course, it's very raw and one have to think a bit of the possible variables at play. For instance, Saoudi Arabia is very productive because of heavy investment, imported labor force and a huge stash of petrol ^^

If we look at the graphic, China's productivity is ... average ... They could use their workers more efficiently, but that would imply they can train their workers to be more efficient (using better machines, better coordination & planning, etc), implying a working education system.

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6 years 17 weeks ago
 
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