Did you know that eight out of 10 of household in urban areas in China contain nobody in paid work? It's hard to imagine any family on the European or North American continent tolerating such a statistic, but it's somehow not surprising for China.
What is surprising is that Chinese authorities are willing to discuss such a problem (even if one has to wonder if the number isn't significantly higher).
Potentially good news is one the horizon, however, according to the China View. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security has made putting at least one person in these households back to work by the end of 2007.
This will be no easy task, as many of those who lost their jobs did so due to their age or lack of skills. So how will China create these jobs? The government plans on expanding community services as well as creating more labor-intensive jobs (more hands on decks) for industrial companies.
So far, there has been a pilot program that has shown promising results. While it's difficult to be sure of the accuracy of official government numbers, it's great to see that the state is recognizing this increasingly urgent problem and taking steps to find a quick solution Ė be it permanent or stop-gap.