Concerns over China’s shrinking workforce “overdone”

21 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

BEIJING: The number of workers in China decreased in seven consecutive years but the shrinking working-age population should not cause concern, the China Daily reported Wednesday.

Both the absolute number and the relative proportion of the working-age population - those 16 to 59 years of age - have been dropping. Last year there were 897 million people in China in that age group, down by 26 million from the peak in 2011, according to recent figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, reports Xinhua.

But some demographers and economists said the prevailing anxiety over the shrinking workforce is exaggerated. The downward trajectory gradually affected a wider range of labor-intensive sectors, such as catering and housekeeping services, as well as the conventional agricultural industry, Li Tongping, a population economist, was quoted as saying.

Though the speed and scale of China's population shift and the subsequent changes in workforce volume are unprecedented, the change still fits the universal trajectory of population development, Li said.