The labor force numbered 1.26 million people in 2001, with an additional 300,000 workers employed abroad. In that year the service industry accounted for 83% of the workforce, industry employed 13%, with the remaining engaged in agriculture. The official unemployment rate was 16% in that year, however the actual rate may be as high as 30%.
Workers have the right to form unions and must register to be legal. The General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions, formed in 1954, was comprised of 17 trade unions in 2002. Approximately 30% of the labor force is unionized. Unions are allowed to collectively bargain but they are not allowed to strike or demonstrate without a permit. Labor disputes are mediated by the Ministry of Labor. The government does not adequately protect employees from antiunion discrimination.
The national minimum wage was $114 per month in 2002 for all sectors except agriculture and domestic labor. This amount does not provide the average family with a living wage. The minimum working age is 16 and this is effectively enforced by the Ministry of Labor except for children working in family businesses or on family farms. The standard workweek is 48 hours, with up to 54 hours per week for hotel, restaurant, and cinema employees.