In 1999, there were an estimated 143,400 members of the labor force, which included foreign workers and members of the military. Due to a labor shortage there was a large number of foreign workers who were temporary residents, many of them illegal immigrants from neighboring countries. In that year the government employed 48% of the workers, with 42% of employees in the production of oil, natural gas, services, and construction. The remaining 10% of workers were employed in agriculture, fishing, or forestry. The estimated unemployment rate in 2001 was 10%.
Although legal, conditions are not conducive to trade unions. Culture and tradition do not support the idea of trade unions, and most workers are not employed in industries that are traditionally union dominated. Even in the oil industry, only 5% of workers are unionized. Strikes are illegal.
Children under the age of 18 may only work with parental consent and the approval of the Labor Commission. The law prohibits employment of children under the age of 16. There are no reports of violations of these child labor laws. Although there is no minimum wage, most employees earn a generous living wage. The workweek is limited to 48 hours of work for five days, with two mandatory 24-hour rest days. The approximately 80,000 foreign workers do not receive the same conditions and wages.