Except for the northern regions, where Indians monopolized trading activities, domestic trade was handled by Europeans before independence. The Taiwanese also played a role. Nevertheless, more and more Basotho are currently take out trading licenses. Traders play a central role in wool and mohair marketing, often acting as wool classers as well. The expertise of the traders varies widely. Some have regular suppliers and customers and maintain high quality, while others are prone to careless handling practices, lowering the market value of wool.
As of 2002, nearly 85% of the workforce was employed in some level of subsistence agriculture. About 35% of male wage earners had jobs in South Africa.
Normal business hours in urban areas are from 8 AM to 1 PM and from 2 to 4:30 PM , Monday through Friday, and from 8 AM to 1 PM on Saturday. Banks are open from 8:30 AM to 1 PM Monday–Friday, and 9:30 to 11 AM on Saturday.