The labor force was estimated at 9.6 million in 2001. Approximately 36% of the labor force was engaged in agriculture.
There are no free trade unions in North Korea; instead there is one labor organization controlled by the government, the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea, of which virtually all industrial and office workers are members. There is no minimum wage; salaries in joint venture and foreign-owned businesses were estimated at $110 per month in 2002. The average salary in the public sector is not known. Labor conditions are governed by a national labor law of 1978. The eight-hour workday is standard but most laborers work 12-16 hours daily during production campaigns. Although children under the age of 16 are prohibited by law from working, school children work in factories or on farms to meet production goals. Office and shop workers spend Fridays in public works and urban maintenance projects. In addition, some work time is spent on mandatory study of the writings of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.