Development of China’s working populationWith about 1.41 billion people, China was the most populous country in the world in 2022. However, the Chinese population is aging at a high pace and population growth turned negative in 2022. The working-age population in China reached this turning point already in 2014 and a general downtrend for the size of the labor force is inevitable in the coming years. Hence, efforts to rise productivity levels will become even more crucial for economic growth in the future.
During the early years of the PRC, strong political emphasis was placed on agriculture. Following the implementation of economic growth schemes, more importance was placed on industrial labor during the 1990s and 2000s. With the ongoing transformation of the Chinese economy towards a more service oriented industry, employment in the service sector underwent a considerable expansion over the past years and accounted for around 47 percent of the labor force in China in 2022. This general shift led to the creation of better paid jobs in the cities and urban regions, which in turn induced a massive stream of migrant workers seeking employment in urban areas of China. According to the Chinese government, the number of migrant workers reached nearly 296 million in 2022. The female proportion of migrant workers amounted to 37 percent in 2022.