Guangdong to Allot US$4 Billion for Jobless Rural Workers

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Feb. 5 – The Guangdong provincial government has announced that it will allot more than RMB30 billion (US$4 billion) to aid jobless rural workers.

The measure comes after China recently admitted that there was a huge jump in unemployment rates in the country with an estimated 20 million rural migrants now unemployed.

Rural families earn most of their income through jobs in big cities and not just farming. Therefore, in addition to the 20 million unemployed migrants, an average of six to seven million people leave their rural homes annually to find jobs, senior rural planning official Chen Xiwen told AFP.

Guangdong is at the heart of China’s manufacturing industry. The global economic slowdown has led to a drop in export orders and forced factories in the province to lay-off thousands of workers. This situation is poised to be volatile as jobless workers become desperate and instigate social unrest.

The Guangdong government said it would make improving employment for migrant workers in the province its top priority and will enhance efforts to development of agriculture and rural areas over the next four years.

It would also expedite plans for industrial transfer and urbanization to stimulate job creation for rural laborers and help raise income. The Guangdong provincial government has set a goal to boost per capita income of farmers from RMB6,400 yuan to RMB9,000 yuan by 2012.

In the next four years, the Guangdong Financial Bureau will fund programs that should help provide more training for rural laborers to make them more employable while also providing aid for those interested to start their own businesses in the countryside.

“The training scheme is also in line with the province’s policy to transfer industries to rural areas in its northern and western parts, which are lagging behind in terms of economic development compared to the Pearl River Delta region,” Ding Li, a researcher with the Guangdong provincial situation research and study center told Xinhua.

Last year, Chinese farmers’ net per capita income increased by 8 percent to RMB4,761 yuan, the fifth consecutive year with a minimum of 6 percent growth.