Instead of heading straight back to the cities after Spring Festival, former migrant workers are first hitting the job fairs in their hometowns.
At a job fair this week in central China's Ezhou City, Hubei Province, Zhu Chang and his wife were determined to find local jobs.
Usually at this time of the year, rural residents are on long-distance coaches, off to seek new jobs in megacities. This year, many have decided to look at home first, or to start their own businesses.
Over 450 companies had more than 32,000 jobs on offer at the fair, and over 12,000 people were signed up on the first day.
"The cost of living is much higher in big cities, and the sense of belonging is almost none," said Zhu. He and his wife spent seven years working in Guangdong Province, but before Spring Festival, the couple resigned their jobs.
Zhu believes Ezhou is on the fast track of development and job opportunities are increasing. "We spend more time with our parents and children at home. Life is definitely better with family around."
In the center of China, most major cities can be reached by air from Ezhou within a short time-frame.
A cargo airport, one of the largest in the region, is under construction. At least 200,000 jobs will be created when the airport is put into operation.
E-commerce platforms including Amazon, Vipshop and Suning have logistics bases there, bringing jobs that are usually only to be found in major cities.
"Compared with labor intensive industries, logistics is more attractive in terms of salary, vacations and career development," said Yang Gang, a returnee from Wuhan.
Free training in e-commerce and micro-lending are popular among job seekers. Last year, over 400 people took the training and nearly half of them have now opened their own e-shops.
Hubei, a major labor exporting province, has 11 million migrant workers, half of whom now work in the province. Just a few years ago, almost 80 percent worked elsewhere.
Improved infrastructure in Hubei has raised the demand for workers in industries such as logistics, construction and real estate, said Wang Zhenliang of the provincial human resources and social security department.
Job fairs are being held across the country in February and March, promoting rural employment and supporting former migrant workers.
In Hubei alone, over 1,200 fairs this year will offer nearly 1.3 million jobs. In neighboring Henan, one of the country's most populous provinces, over 220,000 people returned to their hometowns to start businesses last year, creating more than 2.5 million jobs.
Migrants from east China's Anhui Province are also thriving after returning home. Almost 30 percent of migrant workers now work within the province, up from 25.5 percent in 2012.
"Returning migrant workers have become a driving force in rural development," Wang said.