North Korea Labor Market

Around one-third of the labor force is estimated to be employed in agriculture in North Korea, although the figures vary between different sources.

There is no information on unemployment or underemployment. The collapse of state-owned companies has meant that people have become unemployed, but it is not officially recognized.

The constitution guarantees employment with eight hours working day for all citizens over 16 years. Many residents are believed to be dependent on informal sources of income such as black commerce to cope with the hang of life.

Trade unions are completely controlled by the Communist Party and the state. Strikes do not occur, as widely known.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of North Korea, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.

North Korea Population



UN resolution condemns North Korea’s violation of human rights

December 25

For the 14th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution condemning the “systematic, widespread and comprehensive” human rights violations in North Korea. The resolution is adopted by consensus without any vote.


Tangerines against mushrooms

November 12

North and South Korea exchange food gifts with each other, as evidence of the new, warmer relations between the states. In September, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un sent two tons of the exclusive mushroom goliath mushroom to families in South Korea that were split from their North Korean relatives during the war. South Korea replies in November with sending 200 tons of mandarins to North Korea.


Panmunjom free from weapons and military guards

October 25th

As part of an agreement between Kim Jong-Un and President Moon from September, weapons and military guards are removed from the “Peace Village” Panmunjom, an area also called the JSA (Joint Security Area) where meetings are often held between the two Korean sides as well as representatives for the United Nations military operation during the Korean War (UNC, United Nations Command). Earlier in the autumn, some 800,000 landmines along the border had also been removed.


New summit between North and South Korea

September 19

South Korean President Moon and Kim Jong-Un hold talks for the third time. During the meeting, which takes place in Pyongyang, the two leaders reiterate the pledges of peace and that the Korean peninsula should be nuclear-free. Kim Jong-Un also promises to close the Tongchang-ri robot testing facility.

Military parade without long-range robots

September 9th

North Korea celebrates the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding, including a military parade. This time, no long-range robots are showing up to carry nuclear weapons, which is seen as a signal from the regime of its willingness to move forward with the peace and nuclear disarmament agreement reached between Kim Jong-Un and US President Donald Trump. The latter tweets in praise of Kim Jong-Un after the parade.

Cooperation office for Korean relations

September 13

A co-operation office to contribute to better relations between North and South Korea and facilitate communication and exchange. South Korea’s and North Korea’s reunification ministers participate in the inauguration of the institute, which will consist of 20 officials from each country. The institute is based in the industrial zone in Kaesong.


Meetings between divided families

20th of August

For the first time in three years, South and North Korea are organizing reunions between Korean families that split after the Korean War. 83 North Koreans and 89 South Koreans have been selected this time, which is the 18th row of reunification meetings organized over the years. Many of the participants are old and no longer have their closest family members in life, but instead it is about meeting cousins ​​or other relatives.


North Korea is said to be building new robots

July 30

US intelligence has discovered that North Korea may be on the verge of building new robots, reports the Washington Post. According to the report based on satellite imagery, at least two intercontinental robots are manufactured at a plant near Pyongyang. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo has testified before the Senate the week before that North Korea continues to enrich nuclear fuel, while claiming that progress is being made in talks with Pyongyang. Reports have also come about that some dismantling is occurring at North Korea’s largest satellite launch site.

North Korea returns dead soldiers

July 27

What are reported to be the remains of some 50 US soldiers who died in the Korean War are sent from North Korea with a US transport plan to the US air base Osan in South Korea. It all happens on the 65th anniversary of the cease-fire that ended in the Korean War in 1953. The return is part of the agreement between Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un at the Singapore summit.

GDP fell sharply in 2017

23 July

According to South Korea’s central bank, the North Korean economy was hit by a decline in 2017 as a result of the world’s sanctions on the nuclear weapons program, which meant that coal, fishery products and textiles could no longer be exported to other countries. GDP declined by 3.5 percentage points, which was a sharp turn, given that growth in 2016 was close to 4 percent.

Double messages in nuclear weapons negotiations

July 6

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Pyongyang for two days to discuss how the nuclear weapons agreement between the country’s presidents will be implemented. According to the agreement reached by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un in June, a “complete nuclear disarmament” will take place on the Korean Peninsula. According to Pompeo, progress is being made during the talks, but shortly after Pompeo left the country, North Korea publishes a statement accusing the United States of endangering the agreement through “one-sided and gang-like” demands. The confusion escalates when President Trump announces that he has received a very friendly letter from Kim Jong-Un in which the North Korean leader commends Trump and predicts a bright future for relations between the countries. At the same time, the United States demands that the UN impose a total ban on oil supplies to North Korea.


Historical meeting between Kim Jong-Un and US President Trump

June 12

The meeting between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump is the first time a US president meets with North Korea’s leaders. The two leaders discuss nuclear disarmament and in a written agreement, Kim promises to work for the Korean Peninsula to be free of nuclear weapons. The United States pledges to safeguard North Korea’s security, and at a later press conference, Trump says he has also promised that the United States will stop the recurring military exercises with South Korea.

Military leaders are replaced

June 3

Kim Jong-Un is said to have replaced three of the top military leaders in the country. The staff changes are seen by assessors as part of the North Korean leader’s ambition to be surrounded by employees who are completely loyal to him. But it can also be interpreted as a way of showing to the outside world, not least the United States, that North Korea is serious about the new disarmament line. Defense Minister Pak Yong-Sik is one of those who should have been replaced.


Meeting between North and South Korean leaders

May 26

South Korea’s President Moon and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un meet again in the border village of Panmunjom. The two Korean leaders are discussing both the planned US-North Korea meeting, set by the US a few days earlier, and how to proceed with the agreement reached at the first meeting in April. They also agree to meet more often in the future and to keep an open dialogue between themselves.

The United States sets a scheduled summit

May 25

In a letter to Kim Jong-Un, US President Donald Trump writes that he is suspending the planned summit in Singapore on June 12 following statements from North Korea marked by “tremendous anger and open hostility”. Pyongyang had previously condemned statements by US Vice President Mike Pence that North Korea could end as Libya, whose leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels in 2011, eight years after the country withdrew from nuclear weapons development. The day after, after talks between US and North Korean government officials, Trump announces that the meeting may still take place.

Nuclear test facility destroyed

24th of May

The test site for nuclear weapons at Punggye-ri, where the country’s six nuclear weapons tests have taken place since 2006, will be destroyed. Journalists from South Korea, China, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom have been invited to participate as the plant’s tunnels and military buildings burst.

North Korea sets up talks with South Korea

May 16

North Korean news agency KCNA announces that high-level talks with South Korea are suspended in protest of the military exercises recently launched with US and South Korean fighter aircraft. According to North Korea, the military exercise violates the agreement reached by both Korean states at Panmunjom. Pyongyang also warns that the planned meeting between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump may be canceled.

North Korea releases three US prisoners

May 9

North Korea releases three US prisoners since US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with government officials in Pyongyang. The three Americans have been imprisoned accused of espionage and “hostile acts”.


Historical meeting between North and South Korea

April 27

After South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In and Kim Jong-Un shake hands on either side of the standstill line, the North Korean leader steps over to South Korean soil. The meeting is held in the South Korean border town of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between the countries. Thus, Kim Jong-Un is the first North Korean leader to be in South Korea since the Korean War. At the summit, the two leaders will agree to work to reach a peace treaty in 2018 and for total nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea stops nuclear weapons and robot tests

April 21

Kim Jong-Un announces that North Korea will not carry out further nuclear weapons and medium and long-range missiles. According to the North Korean leader, it is not necessary to do more tests as North Korea now has the required capacity. As proof of this, the nuclear weapons launch site, Punggye-ri, must be dismantled. The message is welcomed by the outside world, not least by South Korea and US presidents.

Direct connection is opened between North and South Korea’s leaders

April 20

A communication channel, a so-called hotline, opens between North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-In. This will allow both Korean leaders to communicate directly with each other.


Kim Jong-Un makes first foreign visit to China

March 28

Chinese media announces that a secret meeting was held in Beijing between Kim Jong-Un and Chinese President xi Jinping. This is the first trip to the media’s knowledge that Kim has made since becoming North Korea’s leader in 2011. At the meeting, Kim Jong-Un maintained that he was ready to meet US and South Korean presidents and that he was positive about nuclear disarmament provided that it was done in a peaceful context and that all parties implemented measures to achieve peace.

North Korea’s Foreign Minister in a meeting with the Swedish Prime Minister

March 16

North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho goes to Stockholm where he meets with Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to discuss nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula and a forthcoming meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un. There are rumors among international media that such a summit could take place in Sweden or that the Swedish government could be helpful in organizing the meeting.

Kim Jong-Un and Trump will meet

March 9

The North Korean regime announces that it is prepared to stop all robotic and nuclear tests and that Kim Jong-Un is striving for nuclear disarmament and now wants a conversation with Donald Trump. The message is delivered by a South Korean delegation in a meeting at the White House in the United States. The delegation, led by South Korean intelligence chief Chung Eui-Yong, has met with the North Korean leader a few days earlier. President Trump says yes to the offer of a meeting with Kim Jong-Un. The meeting is scheduled for May.

USA: “Chemical nerve gas killed Kim Jong-Nam”

March 7

Washington states that it can now be seen that the North Korean regime used a chemical weapon, the NX gas, to kill Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Yong-Nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. At the same time, the United States is imposing additional financial sanctions on North Korea as a penalty for the use of chemical weapons. Two young women, one from Indonesia and one from Vietnam, carried out the murder and have stated in an ongoing trial in Malaysia that they were tricked into thinking it was all a joke and part of a TV show.

Summit is planned between North and South Korea

6 March

After Kim Jong-Un received a South Korean government delegation at a dinner meeting, information will be held that a summit will be held with the two countries’ leaders in the border town of Panmunjom at the end of April. According to South Korea, Pyongyang has said it is prepared to pause the testing of robots while negotiations are ongoing. The summit will be the first in over a decade. Kim Jong-Un should also have said that he is prepared to discuss a scrapping of the nuclear weapons program if the regime’s security can be guaranteed.


North Korea has helped Syria manufacture chemical weapons

February 28

According to a UN report, which has not yet been published but has been leaked to the BBC news service, between 2012 and 2017, North Korea has provided Syria with equipment to develop chemical weapons.

North Korean delegation meets with South Korea’s president

February 25th

A delegation from North Korea led by a controversial general meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-In as the Pyongchang Winter Olympics end. General Kim Yong-Chol is accused in South Korea of ​​having been behind, among other things, the 2010 attack on the South Korean vessel Cheonan.

US imposes new sanctions on North Korea

February 24th

According to US President Donald Trump, the sanctions are “the toughest ever against a country”. The sanctions freeze assets in the United States for about 50 shipping companies and energy companies in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, which have had business contacts with North Korea.

Approach between North and South Korea at the Olympics

February 10

North and South Korean participants in the Olympics together behind a reunion flag during the inaugural ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea. South Korean President Moon and North Korea’s Former Head of State Kim Yong-Nam and Kim Jong-Un’s sister Kim Yo-Jong also hold a joint meeting later. It is the first time since the end of the Korean War that so high-ranking North Koreans visit South Korea. Moon is also invited by Kim Jong-Un to a summit in Pyongyang, to be held as soon as possible.

Military parade 70 years after the formation of the army

February 8

A military parade is being organized to commemorate 70 years since North Korea’s military was formed. Pyongyang has also decided to announce February 8 for the day of the military forces.


Historical conversation between North and South

January 10

For the first time in two years, the Korean states are meeting for high-level talks in the city of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between the countries. During the meeting, North Korea announces that it will participate in the Winter Olympics in South Korea with a sports delegation. South Korea declares that it will investigate the conditions for suspending sanctions against Pyongyang temporarily to allow North Korea to participate in the sporting event. Seoul also proposes arranging new reunions for Korean families that split after the Korean War.

North Korea opens “hotline” to South Korea

January 3rd

North Korea opens the communication channel with South Korea, a so-called hotline, where the countries’ leaders can talk to each other. South Korea confirms that they received a call, the first in about two years, at half past four in the afternoon local time. It should have lasted for about 20 minutes. The North Korean leader has said he wants to start a dialogue between the countries, and that he is considering sending participants to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, which will begin in February.

North Korea Labor Market