|Window washer Wang wants more work.|
Economic Slump Leaves Tough Choices for Shanghai Job Seekers (Shanghai): For many job seekers in China, opportunities for work are best found in coastal cities such as Shanghai, where more than half its 24 million people come from other parts of the country. But as the cost of living continues to rise and the Chinese economy slows, some are considering returning home to look for work. Those who do, though, are also finding it hard to leave.
Tough times; Wang Congran left his home in Henan province when he was 15 and has lived mostly in Shanghai since then. He tried working in a factory for a while, but once he switched to window washing, he was hooked and now prefers a different sort of production line. “I am used to the work and if I had to do something else, if I had to work in a factory, I don’t think I could stand it,” Wang said, adding that the pay for factory work is not that good.
For the past year or so, he said, finding window washing jobs has become increasingly difficult. China has more than 200 million migrant workers, individuals like Wang who flock to the cities for jobs and opportunities.
In many ways though, Shanghai has become his home. Wang and his wife live in the city, and like many other migrant worker couples, their children live hundreds of kilometers away with their grandparents in their hometown. He said the slowdown has affected his wife’s work too. Before, she could work 12 hours a day and get overtime pay. Now, he said, the TV factory where she works has limited her to eight hours a day.
The couple would like to stay in the city, but soon they may have to make a choice. Their current residence, which has been an affordable place to live until now, is slated to be torn down. “It’s hard to say [what will come next],” he said. “If the house my wife and I are living in is torn down, we may have no place to stay. Shanghai is much too expensive,” Wang said.