underemployment, civil war, labor force, government workers, forestry
The labor force is estimated at 2.7 million, with 25 percent of workers in agriculture, forestry, or fishing; 25 percent in industry, including manufacturing, construction, and mining; and 50 percent in services, including trade, finance, and government. Unemployment in 1998 stood at 7.3 percent, but underemployment remains a serious problem.
The total of industrial, rural, and government workers belonging to unions is about 300,000, or less than 20 percent of the labor force. Union organization among rural workers was banned until the 1980s by the government, which was controlled by large landowners, and industrial unions were suppressed from the 1930s until 1950. Antiunion violence connected with the civil war has also limited membership. The largest labor organizations are the National Peasants Union for rural workers and the urban National Federation of Salvadoran Workers.
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