As Chinese exports continue to fall amid a gloomy worldwide economic outlook and tensions with the US push manufacturers to relocate, workers in Kunshan, one of the country’s busiest export hubs, are struggling to find jobs. Kunshan has over 1,500 Taiwanese export-focused manufacturers within close proximity to Shanghai, but they are cutting back in response to declining exports, leading to a decline in factory jobs. The Taiwanese manufacturers, the county’s largest employers, are also beginning to relocate production outside of China to limit their exposure to US-China tensions. Whilst official surveys report an uptick in economic activity in recent weeks, with manufacturing and exports in local currency terms climbing in the first two months of 2023, the labour market weakness has made it increasingly difficult for the unemployed to find work. As low-margin manufacturing dwindles, Kunshan has begun to focus on foreign investment with higher technological demands and local sales, but this inflow is unlikely to offset the losses from the contractor manufacturers. For job seekers, the outlook is worsening, with many now facing pay cuts to access employment.

“Exports in China’s Wealthiest County Plunge as Factory Production is Impacted by US Tensions”

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By hassani

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