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Farmers Enter New Fields for Better Life
Statistics show that China's labor force is undergoing a historic shift from farms to factories and service trades with the number of farmers dropping 20 per cent from 1979 to 2001.

Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Monday show that those working in primary industries accounted for 50.1 per cent of total labor force at the end of last year in comparison with 70.5 per cent in 1978.

The number of people working in tertiary trades has increased by 140 million, with the proportion growing from 12.2 per cent in 1978 to 27.7 percent last year.

As the economy expanded rapidly over the past two decades, primary industries accounted for an increasingly smaller share of the gross domestic product (GDP). But economic efficiency of primary industries surged 11 per cent over the period.

The NBS claimed China has completed the rationalization of its industrial structure by overcoming such problems as weak agricultural infrastructure, crippled industrial layout and underdeveloped services. China has entered a new stage of upgrading and advancing its industrial structure.

It predicted private industries will boom over the next few years as wider market access and better financial services are facilitated by government. Private capital currently generates a quarter of the country's GDP and has entered sectors which were previously government monopolies, including transport and telecommunications.

The expansion of private ownership will help China develop new growth areas in its service industries. NBS figures showed these were lagging behind developed countries and most developing countries in terms of infrastructure, new businesses and share in GDP.

The NBS predicted consumption would make up a greater part of China's GDP in the coming years. Expenditure on consumption accounted for 60.6 per cent of GDP last year - around 19 percentage points lower than international average.

However, statistics revealed investment accounted for 37.3 per cent of GDP, far greater than the ratio in other countries.

(China Daily October 8, 2002)

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