Why Young Chinese Aren't Working In Factories : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money For decades China exported better and cheaper stuff. But now China's experiencing a factory worker crunch. It's been a long time coming.

Why An Aging China Matters

Why An Aging China Matters

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Barcroft Media/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
QINGDAO, CHINA - MAY 18, 2021 - A washing machine interconnection factory ramps up production in Qingdao, east China's Shandong province, May 18, 2021.
Barcroft Media/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Every year TVs get better, and bigger, the picture gets better and better, and they also get cheaper. It's the same thing with all kinds of other electronics: quality goes up, prices go down. It's been happening for so many years we've almost taken it for granted. And it's all part of a process that rests on a foundation of Chinese factories that depend on cheap labor.

But now recruiters are finding it difficult to find workers for factories throughout China.

Michael Pettis is a finance professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management and senior associate at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. He says while the pandemic is responsible for a lot of immediate issues, this labor crunch has been decades in the making.

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