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Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
    << Back to Albania Economy


    Woman at work in a clothing store in the port city of Durrës
    Courtesy Charles Sudetic


    Women at a loom in the port city of Durrës
    Courtesy Charles Sudetic

    Until the 1990s, Albania's working people played practically no meaningful decision-making role in the country's economic life. Most workers simply followed orders and scrambled to find necessities in the country's poorly stocked stores. Personal initiative too often either went unrewarded or was considered ideologically unsound and therefore hazardous to personal safety. The regime denied the existence of unemployment in Albania but kept thousands of redundant workers and managers on factory and government payrolls and dispatched young people entering the work force to labor manually on collective farms or elsewhere in the economy.

    The collapsing economic system left most Albanians effectively jobless. Despair, fear of political repression, and television-fed expectations of an easy life in the West triggered waves of emigration to Europe's established free-market democracies, in particular Greece and Italy. The craving to leave Albania in search of work was so strong that in August 1991, long after the arrival of international food aid, tens of thousands of people converged on Durrës after rumors spread through the nearby countryside that a ship would take passengers from that port to Italy.

    Data as of April 1992

    NOTE: The information regarding Albania on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Albania WORK FORCE AND STANDARD OF LIVING information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Albania WORK FORCE AND STANDARD OF LIVING should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 10-Nov-04
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