Cleaning up the economy

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China has announced that it expects upwards of 40 million people to be unemployed during 2009.  Already, something like 25 million migrant workers have lost their jobs leaving many families in a very difficult situation. Once upon a time, the majority of the poor Chinese would scratch out a living as farmers in rural areas. As this particular line of work quickly became a hard way to earn a very minimal wage, these farmers began to head into the cities and work in factories – thus, migrants.

All of the main cities are filled with them, and they are generally very easy to spot with their often darker skin and infinitely more weathered look. Often you will see them lining the walls of train stations, sitting there beside huge bags carrying everything they own.

In an effort to counter unemployment, the Chinese Government is moving to train many of these as housekeepers. There is a supposed shortfall of roughly 10 million housekeepers which has me wondering, just who are these people needing housekeepers so badly that there is a shortage? Either way, it is a good initiative by the government as around 60 percent of housekeepers are middle aged and come from the pool of migrant workers themselves.

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