In 1992 some 16 percent of Kazakstan's work force was employed in manufacturing 24 percent in agriculture and forestry, 9 percent in construction, 9 percent in transportation and communications, and 32 percent in trade and services (see table 9, Appendix). An estimated 28.3 percent of the work force had at least a secondary education at the time of independence. Russians generally were employed in higher-paying sectors such as industry, transportation, and science, and Kazaks predominated in lower-paying areas such as health care, culture, art, and education. Overall, about two-thirds of workers and about 80 percent of industrial workers were non-Kazaks. In state enterprises, which provided 95 percent of employment before independence, one-half of the work force was female in 1990. The high participation rate of women contributed to an overall participation rate of 79 percent of working-age citizens in some form of employment.
In 1990 the working population of the republic peaked at around 6.7 million people, in a command economy where the legal requirement of full employment of both men and women meant substantial underemployment not revealed by official statistics. By the end of 1994, the number of employed people had declined about 8.9 percent, to about 6.1 million. This drop was caused in part by the privatization of Kazakstan's economy (by 1993 about 7 percent of Kazakstanis were working outside the state sector), but it also reflected growing unemployment and underemployment. In January 1995, there were 85,700 officially registered unemployed people in the republic, up from 4,000 in 1992. That figure does not include an unknown but significant number of workers whose names remained on official payroll lists while they were on forced leave, reduced hours, and delayed wage-payment schedules.
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