China just announced one of the largest single layoffs in history

China may soon have a rust belt of its own.

Chinese officials announced plans to lay off roughly 1.8 million workers in the coal and steel industries, as part of president Xi Jinping’s politically difficult effort to restructure the world’s second-largest economy. It’s unclear as to the time frame for the cuts, which were announced by Yin Weimin, China’s minister for human resources and social security.

In recent decades, China built its economy on heavy state investment in export-oriented manufacturing industries. Those investments created large numbers of jobs for low-skilled people flooding China’s fast-growing cities.

Matt Phillips | Quartz

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