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China's workers left behind as wages lag in post-COVID recovery

Businesses focus on retaining employees instead of offering pay raises

A production-line worker at a JAC Motors plant in Weifang, Shandong province. Most provinces and municipalities decided against raising their minimum wages this year.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- Despite China overcoming the worst of the coronavirus pandemic ahead of the rest of the world, the country's workers have seen little improvement in pay as sluggish demand squeezes hours.

Evidence of stagnant wages was on display at a job fair last month at an in an open soccer stadium in Shanghai, where about 40 companies set up recruitment booths. The event drew many job-seekers, but the positions paid about 5,000 yuan ($760) a month -- not much of an increase from a year earlier.

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