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20 million jobless?

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Most countries are going to have serious problems with the recession, but how easy is it going to be to re-employ 20 million workers? The days of easy credit and shopping 'til you drop are over for the West and that's seriously bad news for the Beijing government. Complicating the matter is Beijing's consistent fudging of the numbers, so it could actually be higher than 20 million.

About 20 million migrant workers have lost their jobs because of the economic downturn, a senior official said on Monday, after the government warned that rising unemployment could fuel social unrest.

Chen Xiwen, Director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, told a news conference on Monday that official surveys found that about 15.3 percent of the total migrant labour pool working in cities had returned jobless to the countryside.

"It's fair to say that the Chinese government takes very seriously the issue of employment of rural migrant workers," he said.

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