Ecuador Table of Contents

Composition of Labor Force

In 1987 about 3.3 million people, or 33 percent of Ecuador's total population, were estimated to be economically active. The economically active population was almost evenly divided between the self-employed and wage earners. Agriculture remained the largest employer in 1987, but the previous fifteen years had seen the total percentage of the work force employed in this sector drop from almost half (46 percent) to just slightly over a third (35 percent). The service sector experienced the largest growth, with the percentage of the work force employed in government and other services rising from 17 to 24 percent from 1974 to 1987. Manufacturing and commerce each employed about 10 percent of the economically active populace in 1987.

Although the percentage of the economically active population employed in manufacturing declined from 12 percent in 1974 to 11 percent in 1987, the percentage engaged in commerce rose from 10 percent to 12 percent over the same period. Artisan manufacturing, defined as firms employing up to thirteen workers, declined compared with larger-scale factory manufacturing. Employment in manufacturing also shifted to larger urban areas; in the late 1980s, over half of the labor force engaged in manufacturing was in the provinces that included Quito and Guayaquil.

In the late 1980s, analysts estimated the median age for the total labor force to be slightly under thirty. When broken down by sex, however, data showed that women in the work force tended to be younger. The median age for men alone was over thirty. Other employment statistics broken down by gender revealed a higher ratio of women employed in urban areas, whereas men had higher percentages of employment in rural districts.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress