China reported no new rush of jobless migrant workers heading back to their rural homes after the Spring Festival, but challenges remained there, a senior official said here Friday.
"Employment is increasing in China as factories started again after the holiday," Chen Xiwen, director of the office of the central leading group on rural work, said on the sideline of the annual session of the country's top political advisory body.
He said the number of migrant workers -- 20 million -- that returned home jobless before the Spring Festival, which he revealed last month, was consist with figures from other government departments.
"However, the figure only indicated the situation in the past, and there could have already been changes," Chen, also a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) told reporters at a press conference held here.
"Some of the returning migrant workers could have found jobs or started their own businesses in their hometowns, or there could also be farmers leaving hometowns to hunt for jobs in cities and join the army of migrant workers," he said.
Chen warned such a large number of jobless migrant workers would impact the income of farmers and hurt the expansion of consumption in rural areas, if they could not secure a job.
He said the net income of farmers reached 4,761 yuan (696 U.S. dollars) per capita last year, and 1,854 yuan are from wages of migrant workers.
The rise in wage income of migrant workers, 258 yuan, made up more than 40 percent of the total increase from a year earlier, he added.
Chen also said these migrant workers could have a negative impact on the social stability, if they ended up doing nothing at home as some would find it difficult to fit into agricultural production or life in the countryside.
"Yet, I think the situation is beginning to take a favorable turn, with various measures to find jobs for migrant workers at all levels of government."
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2009)