China plans to lay off about five or six million state workers over the next few years in an effort to curb pollution and industry overcapacity, and leaders say it’ll cost about $23 billion in the coal and steel sectors alone. The cost will likely go up, officials warn, as “zombie” state firms—those that keep staff on hand at the request of local governments but have shut down operations—will create even more debt. Local officials have expressed concerns about the inevitable impact of the layoffs and shutdowns on unemployment and local economies.
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