China Aims to Lay Off 5-6 Million Workers, Reuters Reports

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China aims to lay off as many as 6 million workers at state-owned enterprises within three years as part of plans to cut capacity and rein in pollution, Reuters reported, citing two unidentified sources with ties to the country’s leadership.

Reuters cited one person as saying the plan was for 5 million layoffs from industries suffering a supply glut. The other said the layoffs could reach 6 million workers, according to the news agency. It said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The country will spend almost 150 billion yuan ($22.9 billion) to cover the layoffs in just the coal and steel sectors in the next two to three years, and the total cost may be more than that, according to Reuters.

China plans to lay off 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel sectors, Human Resources Minister Yin Weimin said at a briefing Feb. 29. Yin didn’t give a timeframe for the cuts.

— With assistance by Nick Wadhams

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