The stunning figure was revealed by Cuban leader Raul Castro himself: The Cuban government and its enterprises might have more than one million excess workers on their payrolls.
That's more than one million unproductive workers, out of what official Cuban figures show is a total of 4.9 million people working in formal jobs in a country of 11.2 million people.
And that's part of the explanation, several economists said, for a calamitously over-centralized and unproductive economy that, for example, forces a tropical island to import an estimated 60 percent of the food its people consume. The Cuban government has historically insisted on keeping people officially employed, even in unproductive jobs. Unemployment was last reported at 1.6 percent by the National Statistics Office (ONE).
About 95 percent of the jobs in Cuba's formal sector are with the government -- ministries, their agencies and enterprises -- though salaries are so low, averaging about $20 a month, nationwide, that many Cubans also have off-the-books work to make ends meet.
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