Fiji - Working conditions

Fiji's workforce numbers around 310,000 people, and the official unemployment rate hovers at a low 6 percent. This figure is misleading since only a third of this work-force is in paid employment; the remaining two-thirds are

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Fiji 2,086 2,319 2,102 2,356 2,416
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Philippines 974 1,166 967 1,064 1,092
Solomon Islands 419 583 666 784 753
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Fiji 35 5 19 2 13 4 23
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Philippines 37 3 11 1 14 1 32
Solomon Islands N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
a Excludes energy used for transport.
b Includes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

subsistence farmers and fishermen (subsistence workers produce just enough goods to support their own subsistence, with rarely any surplus to sell and generate additional income). There are 4 times as many young people in the workforce as there are available jobs. The unemployment rate also conceals large-scale under-employment such as seasonal workers in agriculture and casual laborers in the construction industry. While the numbers of wage and salary workers have been rising (8.5 percent over the period from 1993 to 1998), Fiji's economic crisis threatens to offset these gains. The loss of tens of thousands of professionals and skilled workers through out-migration has also produced a skills deficit, which poses a further obstacle to future growth. Labor disputes are another symptom of tension, and in 1999, an average of 19.7 worker-days were lost due to strikes, though this figure was atypically high. Part of the government's recovery program is to deregulate the workforce and shrink the public sector .

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