Scott Tong, from Marketplace, released a story in 2010 called “Chinese Labor Pool on the Decline.” This story examined Chinese labor and manufacturing in the past and compared it to present conditions. Tong reported that while at one time there was a surplus in Chinese labor, some factory owners can’t find workers to fill their production lines. A large factor in this labor shortage is the one child policy, which is expected to “shrink [the workforce] by half over the next decade.”
This shift in labor is causing not only shortages, but also rising wages. These rising wages are making it difficult for plants to be competitive, and many are losing business to countries like Pakistan and Vietnam.
Amidst these Chinese plants closing their doors and losing competitiveness, Tong shows doubt at the ability of stores like Wal-Mart to keep driving consumer prices down. Rising wages and labor shortages are both signs that “the era of cheap and plentiful Chinese labor is coming to a close.”
Read or listen to the full story here.