In 1998, Yemen's workforce was estimated at five million. According to 1992 estimates, 64% of the labor force is employed in agriculture and herding, 25% in services, and 11% in commerce and industry. In 1995 the estimated unemployment rate stood at 30%.
United Yemen enacted a new labor code in 1995, (amended in 1997) which guaranteed the rights of unionization and collective bargaining. The government restricts this right by placing government officials in union positions of prominence. The Yemeni Confederation of Labor Unions, the country's only labor confederation, had 350,000 members in 14 unions in 2002. There exists a limited right to strike. All collective bargaining agreements must be reviewed by the minister of labor.
There is no nationally fixed minimum wage. Average wages do not provide a family with a decent standard of living, Although children under the age of 15 are prohibited from working, child labor is common, especially in rural regions. The labor code calls for a maximum eight-hour workday and a 48-hour workweek.