French Polynesia - Working conditions

The massive influx of French personnel that accompanied the creation of the Centre d'Expérimentations du Pacifique (CEP) in the early 1960s radically altered the basis of the islands' economy. The nature of their labor conditions changed the economy as well, shifting the workforce away from fishing and farming and into services and industry. This set in motion a migratory drift toward Papeete that still continues. Whereas in 1962 46 percent of French Polynesians were employed in agriculture and fishing, in 1996 only 11 percent were so occupied. The trend has been supported by France's development subsidies, an aim of which has been job creation. From 1997 to 2000, the numbers of those in wage and salary employment increased by 4.2 percent per year, against a 1.6 percent annual increase in the general population over the same period. As a result, there were 20 percent more wage and salary earners in 2000 than there had been in 1995. The gains have been in industry and services, which employ 19 percent and 68 percent of the workforce, respectively. The single largest employer is the government, which accounts for around 40 percent of the workforce. The workforce was most recently estimated at 118,744 in 1988, and unemployment was estimated at 15 percent in 1992.

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