The Malagasy workforce is estimated to be around 7 million strong. Unemployment is officially low— around 2.8 percent in rural areas, 6.6 percent in the cities—but these figures are likely to be significantly underestimated. Although the rate has been slowly falling,
|Household Consumption in PPP Terms|
|Country||All food||Clothing and footwear||Fuel and power a||Health care b||Education b||Transport & Communications||Other|
|Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.|
|a Excludes energy used for transport.|
|b Includes government and private expenditures.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|
more than half the workforce is still underemployed . At least in the short-term, the down-sizing of the public sector is likely to see more jobs lost. Hardest hit are the young; 22 is the average age of the unemployed.
Despite Madagascar's poverty and falling government investment in education, literacy remains relatively high (by sub-Saharan standards). More than 90 percent of children enroll in primary school, and 16 percent go on to secondary school. The literacy rate is 72 percent for men and 52 percent for women. The result is a generally adaptable workforce.