The Shuitun job fair on the outskirts of Beijing was bustling with job seekers even before the crack of dawn one April morning. Like many other job markets offering short-term employment across Beijing, it was packed with seniors. Mostly men, slightly hunched, dressed in dark clothes and trousers. They carried canvas bags with an assortment of tools, shovels, measuring rulers and gloves. Women dressed more brightly. All had tanned faces, which were coarse and wrinkled. Their hands revealed years of toil: thick knuckles, hardened palms.