Candidates look at employment opportunities at a job fair in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. (Photo: Liu Jianhua/For China Daily)
The size of China's labor force is projected to see a continuous decrease, according to a green book released by the Institute of Population and Labor Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Monday. A green book is a type of academic study.
The workforce－people between 15 and 64 years old－will decline to around 970 million in 2025, 30 million fewer than at the end of 2020, the study projects.
Despite the drop, the study said workers will remain in short supply as the job landscape continues to change during the next decade.
In one trend, the service industry will continue to expand, providing more jobs, while those engaged in agriculture will continue to decrease.
The study said that by 2050, the workforce will have continued to drop nationally, while the flow of workers among such sectors as agriculture, manufacturing and services will intensify. Farmworkers are expected to continue to flow into the services sector.
In the near future, the job market will stay in relative balance in workforce supply and demand, according to projections for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the study said. However, by 2030, the situation will have changed due to such factors as a slowdown in economic development.
The number of people who lose their jobs is expected to rise starting in 2030, as new technological and economic trends deepen, according to the study's projections.
A slowing of economic development will create challenges for employment, said Lai Desheng, a professor in the department of social and ecological civilization at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Lai spoke at a news conference for the green book's release.
"High technology such as artificial intelligence and computing sciences and also the international commerce landscape will greatly influence employment," he said. "Employment is not merely a social issue but is also key to the nation's economy."
Feng Xiliang, director of the School of Labor and Economics at the Capital University of Economics, said at the news conference that high-quality employment is a long-term target as the nation's economic development goes through a transformation.
The demand for employees "changes with the emergence of new industries and professions", he said, citing the example of food delivery workers, who have more flexible work hours and higher wages than most migrant workers. "It's really important in order to improve working conditions to encourage more people to take jobs in new industries," Feng said.