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China's Great Wage Boom Is Starting to Fade

  • Economists forecast jobless rate rising to 5.3%-5.5% from 5.1%
  • Weaker wage increases could undermine shift toward consumption
A food vendor waits for customers at a market in Hebei, just outside Beijing.

A food vendor waits for customers at a market in Hebei, just outside Beijing.

Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
Updated on

Rapid wage gains in China that began after the 2009 global financial crisis have begun to fade as the economy slows, and that could create problems for officials trying to boost domestic consumption.

Income increases for migrant workers will fall below 7 percent this year, down from a 7.2 percent rise in 2015, according to nine of 12 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News this month. The findings follow an announcement by Guangdong province, China’s biggest exporter and one of the biggest destinations for rural job seekers, that it will freeze minimum wages for two years.