SHANGHAI - Every day, Ben Paul bikes to work at a Shanghai advertising agency. CBS News correspondent Celia Hatton reports it's a major change from 2009, when he was laid off in Los Angeles.
"Job hunting in L.A. was really disheartening," he explained. "One, because there's very little to look for in the first place and the really hard thing was that you almost don't hear back or at least I almost didn't hear back from anyone."
After six months of looking for a job in America, Ben and his wife, Arcelia, gave China a try.
They made the right decision. Arcelia was in high demand as a therapist for autistic children despite having no Chinese language skills. It took Ben just a month to land the senior position he always wanted, even though he only speaks conversational Mandarin.
More than 71,000 Americans work in China as permanent residents, and hundreds of thousands more are employed under temporary visas. China's leadership is smoothing the way for more white-collar foreign workers to arrive by easing the visa process and extending Chinese social security to all.
"If you can show people you have the kind of skills that might not show up on your resume," Ben said, "but you believe in yourself, that you have them, there will be someone here that will be willing to listen to you."
Ben has had a relatively easy ride but not everyone is so fortunate. Americans who come to China searching for jobs have to compete with a growing number of well-educated Chinese people. Six million new college graduates flood China's job market every year.
"Here in China I really think I can get into a company as they're starting to expand," Pennsylvania native Phil Geanacopolous said. Geanacopoulos has yet to find a job. Every day, he's hitting the pavement in Shanghai, resume in hand, looking to match his ambitions. "If I prove myself within one or two years I can be the executive vice president or head of marketing."
Geanacopolous is studying Chinese to improve hs prospects and his eventual paycheck. And in China, a salary that may be small by U.S. standards can support a comfortable lifestyle.
And that's key - Ben and Arcelia miss their family and friends back home, but the trade-off's worth it to benefit from China's growing economy.