In 2000, an estimated nine million Ghanaians were in the labor force. As of 1999, an estimated 60% of the labor force was engaged in agriculture, 15% in industry, and 25% in services. In 1997, the estimated unemployment rate was 20%.
Although freedom of association is provided by law, the government controls the right to unionize. Government has not, however, prevented the formation of unions. Less than 9% of workers in the formal economy are union members partially due to the weak economy. More workers, up to 86%, are entering the informal sector which is not organized. The law protects the right to strike after mandatory arbitration, but this has not been utilized. Workers are also permitted to engage in collective bargaining.
The minimum working age is 15, but local custom and economic necessity encourage many children to work at much younger ages. The government, labor, and employers set a daily minimum wage of $.78 which was still in effect in 2002. This amount does not provide a living wage for a family. The legal maximum workweek is set at 45 hours, but most collective bargaining agreements allow for a 40-hour week. Health and safety regulations are difficult to enforce due to lack of resources.