Economic Watch: Working Near Home New Option for Migrant Workers in West China

 February 24, 2023
Economic Watch: Working Near Home New Option for Migrant Workers in West China
Workers pack foodstuff for delivery at a logistic warehouse of a company in Wugong County of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Feb. 6, 2023. [Xinhua/Shao Rui]


XI'AN, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) — After working for 10 years at a food company in central China's Henan Province, some 500 km away from his hometown, 37-year-old Fu Rang found a new job near his home in the Lintong District of Xi'an City in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Fu's return to his hometown is attributable to the economic development of county-level regions in western China, which has created numerous local job opportunities.

It's common for migrant workers from the underdeveloped western parts of the country to work in the more developed regions along the coast.

In the current recruitment season, however, such workers have more alternatives to searching for jobs far away from their homes.

In recent years, several leading food and beverage companies have made investments in Sanyuan, located about 50 km from Lintong, creating many job opportunities in the agricultural county.

"My wife and I worked far from our hometown for years, and could only return during holidays. Now we can visit our family members every week as we live closer," said Fu, who now works at Baixiang Food Company in Sanyuan.

There's a growing tendency among migrant workers from the western parts of the country to seek employment opportunities closer to their homes, and this trend is reflected in China's official statistics.

In 2021, in the western parts of China, migrant workers working outside their home provinces accounted for 47.8 percent of total migrant workers in the region, while the figure stood at 52.2 percent in 2016, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Being closer to their workplace not only shortens the distance between home and work for individuals but also contributes to their happiness. Every morning, after sending her children to school, 35-year-old Shen Weimei goes to work at a toy and gift factory in Xunyang County, the largest community factory in the area.

She is quite content with her job, earning over 4,000 yuan (about 582 U.S. dollars) a month while working eight hours a day.

"There were no decent enterprises in the past in Xunyang. My husband and I worked in east China's Suzhou City for over four years, and we could only stay at home for about ten days during the Spring Festival every year. Although our income now is lower than that in Suzhou, our family is reunited and the cost of living is lower, so we are happier," Shen said.

A similar situation can be observed in Wugong County, which was previously known as a labor export county in Shaanxi.

"We don't have to find a job far away from home, as our hometown offers many employment prospects," said Ma Qian, who hails from Zhenyuan Township in Wugong.

After working in the provincial capital Xi'an for some time, she decided to return to her hometown and has already secured a local job.

A significant number of our new employees this year are locals who have returned from big cities, said Li Weihua, an official with the Wugong County Industrial Park Management Committee. 

Economic Watch: Working Near Home New Option for Migrant Workers in West China
New recruits try their hands on production lines of a textile company in Xunyang City of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Feb. 9, 2023. [Xinhua/Shao Rui]


Economic Watch: Working Near Home New Option for Migrant Workers in West China
Workers operate at a production line of an edible oil enterprise in Xiyang Township, Sanyuan County of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Feb. 10, 2023. [Xinhua/Shao Rui]


(Source: Xinhua)


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