Employment to Population Ratio in China

Dean Baker directs us to this data on China. It seems China has about 1322 million people of which 79.6% are 15 and over. An adult population around 1052 million is pretty large. It also seems that those with jobs number 798 million or 75.8%.

I raise this in light of how Dean is having fun with Edward Cody who wrote:

Migrant workers – as many as to 900 million have left farms to find jobs – typically get dormitory-style housing and basic food as part of their benefits.

Dean notes that 45 percent of China’s approximately 800 million workers are employed in agriculture. Does Mr. Cody think China’s employment to population ratio exceeds 100%? And did anyone at the Washington Post bother proofreading Cody’s article?

Update: AB reader Henry Cobb directs us to the official data:

A survey by the Ministry of Agriculture shows China’s migrant worker population has grown to 114.9 million with an estimated 6.7 million new migrant workers this year. China’s vast rural areas have provided cheap labor for the country’s industrialization drive since the 1990s with an average annual increase of 4.03 million migrant workers from 1998 to 2005. The ministry estimated the migrant worker population would increase on average by four million annually in the next few years … According to the ministry, migrant workers have seen their average wage increase to 852 yuan (106 U.S. dollars) per month in 2006 from 803 yuan in 2005. Migrant workers mainly work in the service sector, with 24.2 percent in industry, 21.1 percent in construction and nearly half in the commercial and restaurant sectors.

Henry suggests that the official statistics might understate the number of migrant workers but it is highly unlikely that China has 900 million workers who have migrated to the cities.