Wed, January 21, 2009
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Migrant workers hit by credit crunch

2009-01-21 07:02:56 GMT2009-01-21 15:02:56 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Millions of Chinese are getting ready to make their way home for the Lunar New Year festival.

It's one of the busiest travel times of year in China.

But not everyone this year will be able to make the journey.

33 yr old Xu Manxiang was recently laid off from his job at an electronics factory in Shanghai.

He is one of the country's 200 million migrant workers who are feeling the impact of the global economic downturn.

(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) XU MANXIANG, MIGRANT WORKER SAYING:

"I am feeling the impact now that I have lost my job. Due to the economic crisis, it can be quite costly to go home for the Chinese New Year. After thinking about it, I felt I should be more thrifty and spend less money. The main thing is that we thought we should spend less money and try to ride out this crisis."

Tens of thousands of export firms on China's seaboard have closed due to falling demand in major European and North American markets.

The government said that exports and imports fell in December for the second month in a row.

A round trip home for Xu and his wife to nearby Anhui province would cost them 145 dollars (USD) - that's about a month's salary for the average Shanghai factory worker.

With less than a week before the Chinese New Year , the Xu family like thousands of others are weighing up whether or not to spend the money to go home and if they'll have jobs to return to.

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