Number of employed people in China 2008-2018

The graph shows the number of employed people in China from 2008 to 2018. In 2018, the workforce in China amounted to around 775.9 million people.

Workforce in China – additional information

In 2019, China’s total population reached 1.40 billion. The labor force of China, which refers to the population aged 16 and over and capable of working, stood at around 806 million in 2018, marking a slight decrease of one million people from 2017. Out of the economically active population, approximately 776 million were employed in 2018. Out of these, about 434 million people were employed in urban areas, while 342 million people were working in rural areas.

Although the workforce in China had been steadily increasing until 2017, the labor force participation rate in China, meaning the share of the Chinese working-age population that participated in the labor force, has slightly decreased, dropping from 72.3 percent in 2007 to 68.2 percent in 2019.

Between 2008 and 2018, the share of the workforce employed in the primary sector declined significantly from 39.6 percent in 2008 to 26.1 percent in 2018, whereas the percentage of people employed in the secondary and tertiary sectors increased. As of 2018, about 27.6 percent of Chinese workers were employed in secondary and 46.3 percent in tertiary industries.

Partly influenced by the implementation of the one-child policy, the fertility rate in China has receded, resulting in a demographic shift of the age pyramid and, in turn, of the overall workforce.

Number of employed people in China from 2008 to 2018

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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

2008 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Figures refer to employed persons in both urban and rural regions of China.

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Statistics on "Employment in China"

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