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China’s Labor Market in the “New Normal”

Author

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  • Waikei R Lam
  • Xiaoguang Liu
  • Alfred Schipke

Abstract

As China implements reforms under the “new normal,” maintaining stability in the labor market is a priority. The country’s demography and labor dynamics are changing, after benefitting in past decades from ample cheap labor. So far, the labor market appears to be resilient, even as growth slows, driven in part by expansion of the services sector. Migrant flows and possible labor hoarding in overcapacity sectors may also help explain this. Yet, while the latter two factors help serve as shock absorbers— contributing to labor market stability in the short term—if they persist, they may delay the needed adjustment process, contributing to an inefficient allocation of resources and curtailing productivity gains. This paper quantifies to what extent structural trends and the reform pace affect employment growth under the new normal. Delays in reform implementation would weaken growth prospects in the medium term, running the risk that job creation will fall below policy targets, leading to labor market pressures in the future. In contrast, successful transition might require faster reforms, including in the overcapacity and state-owned enterprise sectors, supported by well targeted social safety nets.

Suggested Citation

  • Waikei R Lam & Xiaoguang Liu & Alfred Schipke, 2015. "China’s Labor Market in the “New Normal”," IMF Working Papers 15/151, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:15/151
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    Cited by:

    1. Bailliu, Jeannine & Han, Xinfen & Kruger, Mark & Liu, Yu-Hsien & Thanabalasingam, Sri, 2019. "Can media and text analytics provide insights into labour market conditions in China?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1118-1130.
    2. Thomas F. Remington, 2017. "Closing the Skills-Jobs Gap: Russia and China Compared," HSE Working papers WP BRP 53/PS/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    3. Chao, Chi-Chur & Nabin, Munirul & Nguyen, Xuan & Sgro, Pasquale M., 2016. "Wage inequality and welfare in developing countries: Privatization and reforms in the short and long run," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 474-483.
    4. Terry Sicular & Shi Li & Ximing Yue & Hiroshi Sato, 2017. "Changing Trends in China’s Inequality: Key Issues and Main Findings," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 201712, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    5. Abdelaaziz Aït Ali & Yassine Msadfa, 2017. "Manufacturing Employment Elasticity and Its Drivers in Developing and Emerging Countries : Focus on Sub-Saharan Africa," Research papers & Policy papers 1709, Policy Center for the New South.

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    Keywords

    Unemployment; Migration; Labor markets; China; Mobility; labor market; labor; employment; General; General; General; General; General; General;

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