Economy of Bulgaria - Labour

Labour

In 2005 the labour force was estimated at 3.3 million; in 2004, 11 percent worked in agriculture, 33 percent in industry, and 56 percent in services. The unemployment rate has been in double digits throughout the post-communist era, reaching a high point of 19 percent in 2000. Since then, the rate has decreased substantially with the creation of new jobs in private and state enterprises. In 2005 the official figure was 11.5 percent, compared with 16.9 percent at the end of 2002. However, in 2003 an estimated 500,000 Bulgarians were unemployed but not officially counted because they were not seeking work. In January 2005, the government raised the minimum wage by 25 percent, to US$90 per month. The largest labour unions are Podkrepa (Support) and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria. They represent labour in the National Council for Tripartite Partnership, in which they join government and business representatives to discuss issues of labour, social security, and living standards. The unions were an important political force in the fall of the Zhivkov regime.

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