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manufacturing.48 Another problem is that when the 2000 census enumerators located migrants, they probably handed them a short census form to fill out, whereas households were sampled to decide which would receive the long form. The result of these procedures might be that employment in industry or service sectors favored by migrants is underestimated by the census long form.49 Also, in some parts of China, the last week of October is still a heavy harvest season, and the census might have counted as agricultural workers millions of manufacturing employees who were only temporarily diverted into agriculture.

If the urban and TVE manufacturing series is the preferred one, then China reported about 105 million manufacturing employees at yearend 1990, a figure that rose to 128 million at yearend 1995 and 130 million at yearend 1996. (See table 4.) In 1997 and 1998, statistical changes and corrections, as well as redefinitions, in both TVE data and urban employment data resulted in a drop in China’s total manufacturing (urban and TVE) employment figure, to approximately 112 million by yearend 1998, of which 44 million were called “urban” and about 68 million “TVE.” (See table 1.) Since then, TVE manufacturing employment apparently rose slowly each year, to 71 million at yearend 2002, while on-post (not laid-off) urban manufacturing employment dropped from 44 million to 38 million. Total urban-and-TVE manufacturing employment in China declined by 4 million, from 112 million in 1998 to 108 million in 2000-01, and then rose slightly to 109 million by yearend 2002, as shown in table 4 and chart 2.

Occupational categories of China’s manufacturing workers

The most recent available data on the occupations of manufacturing employees in China comes from the 2000 population census, which gives the broad occupational breakdown of those who were working in manufacturing enterprises in the last week of October 2000, based on a 10 percent sample of households in every PRC locality in the 2000 census.50 (This author has not been able to locate a similar breakdown reported for the annual data on manufacturing workers.) According to the 2000 census, the manufacturing sector included 67 million production, transport, equipment, and related workers; such line workers constituted 76 percent of the 88 million manufacturing employees estimated by the census. The second largest group in manufacturing was 8 million sales and service workers, who made up 9 percent of the total. There were 5 million professional and technical workers, making up 6 percent of manufacturing employees. Clerical workers numbered 4 million, constituting 5 percent of the total. There were 3 million administrators and managers, 3 percent of manufacturing employment.

Census data showed that there was a surprising degree of balance in the total numbers of men and women working in China’s manufacturing. Of recorded manufacturing workers in the 2000 census, 54 percent were men and 46 percent women. There were only 3 million more male than female production workers, a total of 35 million men and 32 million women. Men strongly dominated management, as well as sales and service and clerical staff. There were more women than men in the professional/technical category. Within the manufacturing sector, however, factory observations suggest that women do most of the low-paid meticulous hand-assembly of


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