From 1985 to 1991, the size of the labor force grew by 2.7% per year. Of an estimated two million inhabitants of working age in 1998, agriculture engaged 48%; industry and construction 15%, and the remainder in other sectors.
The right to form or join unions is not provided by law. As of 2002, there were no independent unions. The Federation of Trade Unions, now renamed the Colleagues Union, the governmentassociated organization of the Soviet era, is still present. In 2002, the union claimed 1.3 million members. Although Turkmen law does not protect the right to bargain collectively, strikes are allowed. State economic control is still prevalent, and little progress toward privatization has occurred
The standard legal workweek is 40 hours. Many industrial workers often labor in unsafe conditions, and agricultural workers especially are subjected to ecological health hazards. The minimum working age is 16 years except for in a few heavy industries where it is 18. Violations of the minimum working age do occasionally occur in rural areas, especially during the cotton harvesting season. There is no set minimum wage. As of 2002, the average wage for public-sector employees was $77 per month.