Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents



Distribution by Economic Sectors

A prerequisite for rapid economic growth after World War II was the wholesale transfer of labor from agriculture, which had employed 80 percent of the population before the war, to other sectors--primarily to heavy industry. The industrial work force grew by an average of 5 percent per year during the 1950-77 period, as Romania was accomplishing its most dramatic economic development, and industrial output was rising by an average 12.9 percent annually. As late as 1960, 65 percent of the labor force was still engaged in agriculture, with only some 15 percent working in industry and 20 percent in other sectors. But in the course of the following two decades, the labor force would be transformed, as peasants left the land in the wake of agricultural collectivization to take better-paid jobs in the cities. Between 1971 and 1978, the outflow of rural labor accelerated to 11 percent per year--more than twice the rate of the 1950s and 1960s.

By 1980 agriculture employed no more than 29 percent of the labor force, while industry occupied 36 percent and other sectors the remaining 35 percent. By this time the rural exodus had slowed, and although half the population continued to reside in rural areas, the reserves of able-bodied young men in agriculture had been reduced drastically. As a result, targets for expansion of the industrial labor force were unattainable, and agriculture was becoming the domain of the elderly and women (see table 5, Appendix).

Data as of July 1989