In 1998, the labor force was estimated at three million. Agriculture employed 66%; industry, 9%; and services, 25%. Unofficially, the unemployment rate in 1996 was put at 50%. In 2001, it was estimated that 2/3 of the labor force did not have formal jobs. Underemployment is also prevalent.
Because the proportion of wage earners is relatively small, the labor movement is weak. In 2002, there were nine principal labor federations, representing about 5% of the total labor force. Unions are independent of the government and political parties, but they must register to achieve legal recognition. Strikes are permitted, but participation in strike activity is low. Collective bargaining does not occur.
The minimum age for employment is legally set at 15 years with the exception of domestic service. Child labor is not problematic in the formal sector due to job competition, however it remains prevalent in the informal economy. In industry and service organizations, the legal standard is an eight-hour day with a 48-hour week and 24-hour rest on Sunday. The legal daily minimum wage in 2002 was $1.52, which does not provide a decent standard of living to a family. This only applies to the formal wage-earners, and does not apply to agricultural workers or the informal sector of the economy.