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China faces labor shortage with 200m migrant workers idled

Factories and construction sites feel outbreak's squeeze far from Hubei

Workers assemble Audi cars at an FAW-Volkswagen Automobile factory in Changchun, northeastern China, on Feb. 17. (Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING/GUANGZHOU -- Chinese factories and construction sites face labor shortages as an estimated 220 million migrant workers have yet to return from their hometowns two weeks after the Lunar New Year holiday, with travel disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Many of those who have made the trip back must quarantine themselves for 14 days, leaving employers struggling to cope with an uncertain labor supply.

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