government effort, Eastern European countries, underemployment, market economy, GDP
Reforms toward a market economy have been suspended since 1994 in a government effort to maintain Soviet-style centralization. Most industries, including manufacturing and farming, are state owned and operated. In 1996 the private sector’s share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at 15 percent, the lowest of all Eastern European countries.
High average annual rates of inflation between 1991 and 1996 severely impeded economic growth and drove up prices for food and services. In the same period annual output declined in almost all sectors of the economy. The 2000 GDP of Belarus was an estimated $29.9 billion. Trade and other services accounted for 47 percent of GDP; industry, including mining and manufacturing, 37 percent; and agriculture and forestry, 15 percent.
Approximately 5.3 million people contribute to the economy of Belarus. Of the labor force, 35 percent are employed in industry; 21 percent in agriculture and forestry; and 40 percent in services such as trade and transportation. Unemployment is officially estimated at 2 percent, but underemployment and irregular wage patterns are common.
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