According to figures for 2000, the total labor force was 1.5 million people. As of 2000, unemployment was estimated at 30%. Foreign workers, who do much of the blue-collar and technical work, are not treated with equality under Libyan labor law, and may only stay in the country for the duration of their employment contracts. The largest employer is the government, which operates public utilities, public works, several banks, the port and harbor organizations, and other enterprises.
The National Trade Unions' Federation is the official trade organization, and any independent union or association is prohibited. All Libyan workers are required to join a trade union. Foreign workers may not join unions and have little protection. There is no collective bargaining; the government controls all employment matters. Strikes are not permitted. Foreign workers make up a large part of the labor force, but are subject to arbitrary treatment.
There is no information about the prevalence of child labor although the minimum age for employment is legally set at 18 years old. The maximum legal workweek is 48 hours. The average family wage is estimated at $170 a month, but it is reported that employees are irregularly paid, especially in the public sector.