The swelling of the working-age population has led to high rates of unemployment and underemployment (see Population, this ch.). At the same time, despite relatively high average levels of education in the population, the shortage of skilled personnel in Uzbekistan is also a major constraint to future development (see Education, this ch.). Russians and other nonindigenous workers traditionally were concentrated in the heavy industrial sectors, including mining and heavy manufacturing. With the independence of Uzbekistan and the outbreak of violence in several parts of Central Asia, many of these skilled personnel left the country in the early 1990s. In 1990 as many as 90 percent of personnel in Uzbekistan's electric power stations were Russians. Because Russian emigration caused a shortage of skilled technicians, by 1994 half of the power generating units of the Syrdariya Hydroelectric Power Station had been shut down, and the newly constructed Novoangrenskiy Thermoelectric Power Station could not go on line because there was nobody to operate it. In the mid-1990s, training programs were preparing skilled indigenous cadres in these and other industrial sectors, but the shortfall has had a strong impact.
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