Credit Cards Booming In China, As Cash Culture Adopts Plastic and Payrolls Fall But Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

China’s on deck to become the world’s largest consumer market by 2020, many analysts say. Credit cards may play a pivotal role. Until a few years ago, many Chinese shied away from credit cards, reflecting a conservative Asian liking for cash dealings.  It stems from a centuries-old attitude that it’s safer to stash money to survive a future crisis.

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China has one of the world’s highest savings rates. It weighs in at 39.7% of household disposable income vs. 3.2% for the U.S., according to research by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“A lot of Chinese still have this cash-heavy mentality,” said Ming-Jer Chen, a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. [Read the full article]

The Labor Department said it wouldn’t quantify how the snowstorms that hammered the East Coast last month affected job losses. Some data in the report signaled the storms didn’t reduce payrolls as much as had been feared.

Economists had estimated that the storms could inflate job losses by 100,000 or more. That would mean the economy generated a net gain in jobs last month, excluding the impact of the snow, for only the second time since the recession began in December 2007.

Hiring for the 2010 Census accounted for 15,000 jobs, the department said. The government expects to hire 1 million temporary census workers this year.

Many economists predicted the snowstorms would artificially inflate job losses. The storms occurred in the week that the government surveys businesses about their payrolls. Employees who couldn’t make it to work and werent paid aren’t included on those payrolls. [Read the full article]

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