The majority of the economically active population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, fishing, or petty commerce, about 80% of the workforce in 2002. The labor force was estimated at 144,500 in 1996 with the unemployment rate that year amounting to 20%.
The constitution provides the right for workers to create and join unions and the right to strike. However, this affects a small percentage of the population: the wage-earning labor force consists of less than 7,000 individuals including government employees. The minimum age for employment is 15 years, but children generally work with their families in the large subsistence farming and fishing sectors, or as domestic servants. The government has few resources to enforce this minimum age restriction. There is no minimum wage, and payment to workers is irregular. There are no occupational health and safety standards for the country's tiny manufacturing base.