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Rural China staggers as pandemic leaves millions jobless

With stimulus money yet to arrive, unskilled workers struggle to find work

Many migrant workers have returned to rural villages as the coronavirus reduces demand for them.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- As early as 5 a.m., men on electric bikes begin to arrive at a street in the western outskirts of the Jiangsu Province city of Xuzhou, a gathering point for day laborers. By shortly after 6 a.m., their ranks have swelled into the hundreds.

Brokers rattle off the jobs on offer -- "interior construction, 200 yuan ($28) a day, up to three days," one says. Once a broker and laborer agree on terms, the worker heads directly to the job site.

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