Working conditions in the CAR are similar to those encountered throughout rural Africa. Subsistence farmers use labor-intensive traditional farming methods to produce food and cash crops. Agricultural work varies seasonally, with fields plowed and crops sown in the early rainy season around May and June. The fields are worked during the rainy season, and the harvest is gathered between September and December. Most work is done by hand, but some farmers harness oxen to plough their fields.
A small portion of the population works in the diamond and lumber industries. Diamond miners are self-employed prospectors, whose earnings vary according to their luck in finding diamonds.
Most of the working population centered in Bangui is employed in the informal sector. Women often buy and sell different foods for meager profits, while men typically work in trades such as carpentry, masonry, and tailoring. Women have little access to education or to jobs and suffer from lesser protection under the law.
Members of the small civil service normally constitute a middle class elite, but this class has endured periods without salary because of the government's chronic budgetary problems.