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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Business
Workers see slower wage growth despite soaring industrial gains
    2017-June-22  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

EMPLOYEES across China may be starting to feel like they’re getting a raw deal.

Amid soaring industrial profits, employees in the world’s second-largest economy saw slower wage growth last year — and many are seeing the smallest raises since 1997.

That’s another sign that the years of pay gains above 10 percent and burgeoning spending power are coming to a close, as China confronts industrial overcapacity, mounting debt and waning competitiveness.

“Double-digit wage increases won’t be seen again for the foreseeable future,” said Tao Dong, senior adviser for Asia private banking at Credit Suisse Group in Hong Kong. “More than a decade of continuous wage surges and a strong currency have eroded China’s competitiveness.”

The government classifies more than 400 million urban employees into one of three categories: non-private, private, and self-employed. The largest segment, non-private, includes almost 180 million workers at state companies, listed companies, and foreign firms. Their pace of pay gains last year was the slowest since 1997, rising 8.9 percent to 67,569 yuan (US$10,166), according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the private category, which in practice means mainly smaller domestic employers, paychecks for 121 million employees rose 8.2 percent last year, less than the 8.8 percent gain in 2015. Similarly slowing is the pay of about 280 million rural migrant workers, who saw a 6.4 percent wage gain as of February, down from more than 20 percent in 2011. Those increases are still well above the current rate of inflation.

The slowdown in salary expansion came even as industrial firms saw the fastest profit gain in three years and nominal gross domestic product picked up. Raw material producers such as steel mills and coal mines were the top beneficiaries. But with many facing debt hangovers or overcapacity, there may now be little incentive to fatten salaries.

“Those companies were probably busy paying off their debts, settling with laid-off workers and upgrading their machinery,” said Hua Changchun, global chief economist at Guotai Junan Securities in Shenzhen. “They have not passed on many gains to workers or hired new ones.”

China still aims to shed 500,000 jobs from smokestack sectors this year, as part of an effort to eventually trim 1.8 million employees in steel and coal. That’s a small slice of a labor force of nearly 800 million, but it will still weigh on workers’ wages.

Policymakers also have shied away from boosting pay in order to stay competitive against cheaper southeast Asian nations. Just nine of 31 provinces and regions increased the minimum wage last year, the fewest in at least four years and about a third of the number in the prior year. (SD-Agencies)

 

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