Laos Table of Contents

Industrial Output and Employment

Estimates of the industrial sector's contribution (including construction) to GDP vary, but most sources find it to be slowly increasing, from about 10 percent in 1984 to about 17 percent in 1993. The World Bank estimated the sector's contribution at 14 percent in 1989. Most sources also indicated an increase in the percentage of the labor force employed in the sector, from about 5 percent in 1970 to about 7 percent in 1980. However, World Bank figures available in mid-1993 indicated that the sector employed only just over 2 percent of the labor force in 1986. All sources agree that the growth of the industrial sector had increased throughout the 1980s; the World Bank estimated an average annual growth rate of 3.4 percent between 1980 and 1989, despite negative growth in the drought years of 1987 and 1988 during which exports of hydroelectricity were substantially lowered. By 1990 the growth rate had leveled off, from a surge of nearly 32.0 percent in 1989 to about 12.7 percent in 1992. The virtual end of the command economy fueled the 1989 industrial boom and supported steady growth for at least the medium term. Principal activities in the industrial sector include manufacturing, construction, mining, processing agricultural and forestry goods, and producing hydroelectricity.

Industrial Policy

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress