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Statutory Minimum Wage Grew by 18% in 2013 but Wage Growth for Migrant Workers Has Slowed Down

In 2013, twenty six provinces and municipalities had raised the statutory minimum wage levels by 18% on average, according to the release of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in January 2014. The growth rate of inland provinces is more rapid than the coastal provinces and cities given the lower absolute wage levels there. The Ministry also admitted that the national growth figure ie the average of all the statutory minimum wage growth of all the provinces and municipalities, has slowed down for the third year compared to 22% in 2011.  

Impressive though, the adjustment of the statutory minimum wage in China is suffered highly driven by administrative factors and lack of transparency. The statutory minimum wage growth rate varies greatly from place to place and does not show consistent patterns (Table One). Although the Minimum Wage Regulation (2004) states adjustment for at least every two years, local governments such as Chongqing municipality, adjusted the minimum wage levels only infrequently four times in nine years.

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Table One: Growth Rate of the Statutory Minimum Wage of Provinces and Municipalities, 2005-2013 (in percentage)

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Beijing

6.4

10.3

14.1

9.6

0

20.0

20.8

8.6

11.1

Shanghai

8.7

8.7

12.0

14.3

0

16.7

14.3

13.3

11.7

Chongqing

0

45

0

17.2

0

0

27.9

20.7

0

Shenzhen

13.1

17.4

4.9

18.0

0

0

20.0

13.6

6.7

Guangzhou

34.1

14.0

0

10.3

0

19.8

26.2

0

19.2

Fujian Province

4.4

38.3

15.4

0

0

20.0

22.2

9.1

0

Zhejiang Province

8.1

11.9

13.3

12.9

0

14.6

19.1

0

12.2

Jiangsu Province

11.3

8.7

0

13.3

0

12.9

18.8

15.8

0

Shandong Province

29.3

11.3

3.4

24.6

0

21.1

19.6

12.7

11.3

Source: Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of Various Years

The national data compiled by the Bureau of Statistics also shows that the take-home pay of migrant workers has slowed down from the hike in 2011, seeing 21.2% compared to 2010. Since then the growth rate has slowed down to 13.9% year-on-year in 2013. (Table Two).

Table Two: Average Monthly Wage of Migrant Workers, 2008-2012 (National)

 

% Change

Income

2008

 

1340

2009

5.7

1417

2010

19.3

1690

2011

21.2

2049

2012

11.8

2290

2013

13.9

2609

Source: National Bureau of Statistics

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IHLO

10 January 2014

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