Laos - Working conditions

Because of the country's low population density and its former socialist economic system, unemployment has not been a serious problem in the Lao PDR. The visible urban unemployment rate in Laos was 3.5 percent overall in 1994. The large informal sector also provides opportunities for those who cannot find meaningful em-

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Laos N/A N/A N/A 321 421
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
China 138 168 261 349 727
Thailand 863 1,121 1,335 2,006 2,593
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Laos
Lowest 10% 4.2
Lowest 20% 9.6
Second 20% 12.9
Third 20% 16.3
Fourth 20% 21.0
Highest 20% 40.2
Highest 10% 26.4
Survey year: 1992
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

ployment in the formal sector. The Lao PDR has a progressive labor law, which is extremely specific related to working age, minimum wage, and overtime payments, for example. This labor law primarily covers those employees working in the modern formal sector. Women and children are active in the labor force, particularly in the agricultural sector and informal economy. Those able to attain higher levels of education can gain access to work in the public sector, the modern private sector , or with various international agencies and organizations present in the Lao PDR. Those with superior English language skills are particularly advantaged in the modern, urban labor market.

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