The Work Force
According to Azerbaijani statistics, the work force numbered
2.7 million individuals in 1992. Agriculture was the largest area
of employment (34 percent), followed by industry (16 percent) and
education and culture (12 percent). In the industrial sector, the
oil, chemical, and textile industries were major employers (see
table 11, Appendix). In spite of the standard communist
proclamation that employment was a right and employment was
virtually full, large-scale, chronic unemployment had already
emerged in the late 1980s, especially among youth and the growing
ranks of refugees and displaced people (see
table 12, Appendix).
In 1992 unemployment was still officially characterized as a
minor problem, affecting some 200,000 people, but in fact the
Azerbaijani government vastly underreported this statistic.
Underreporting was facilitated by the practice of keeping workers
listed as employees in idled industries. Funds set aside by the
government to deal with unemployment proved woefully inadequate.
One Western economic agency estimated the 1992 gross national
Glossary) as US$18.6 billion and the average
per capita GNP as US$2,480, placing Azerbaijan sixth and eighth
in those respective categories among the former Soviet republics.
Data as of March 1994