More grim news from China where the economic slump deepened in the final three months of 2008 as the impact of the global financial crisis spread.
GDP growth during that quarter plunged to 6.8 percent compared with a year earlier. The previous quarter the economy had expanded by nine percent. For all of last year growth was nine percent compared with 13 percent in 2007, 11.6 percent in 2006 and 10.4 percent in 2005. The head of the National Statistics Bureau, Ma Jiantang, said: “The impact of the financial crisis has been felt, especially after October last year. It has expanded from small and medium sized companies to large ones, from exports to other sectors, from the southeastern coastal areas to China’s inland regions. This is the most difficult task we are now facing.” The slowdown threatens more heavy job losses and possible civil unrest in China. About six million migrant workers in China have returned to their rural homes after losing their jobs in the cities. There have been some protests and communist government leaders have promised to create new jobs and are pressing employers to avoid more layoffs. It is estimated more than two million people have lost their jobs with the closure of thousands of factories in China’s southeast, which had seen huge expansion driven by manufacture of goods for export. Chinese exporters have been hit hardest, but the slump is spreading to domestic industries as demand for cars, homes and other goods weakens.