The labor force numbered approximately 3.2 million in 2000. Agriculture accounted for 67% of the workforce, with services 25%, and industry 8% in that year. Unemployment in 2001 was estimated at 20%.
With the demise of the Soviet Union, there is no longer the mandate for a single labor union structure. As of 2002, the Federation of Trade Unions remained the dominant labor organization even though it no longer is subordinate to the Communist Party. Approximately 90% of workers were unionized in 2002. Strikes are permitted after mandatory arbitration. Collective bargaining is permitted and practiced, although it is becoming less prevalent in the economic decline.
Employment in Tajikistan may legally begin at age 16, or at age 15 with local trade union permission. Children from the age of seven often help with harvests, but their work is considered "family assistance." The 40-hour workweek is standard. The minimum monthly wage was $1.60, which does not provide a decent standard of living for the worker and family. An estimated 20% of industrial laborers worked in unhealthy or otherwise hazardous conditions, although it is believed that the number of persons working in substandard conditions is vastly underreported.