History is a strong influence on the working life in T & T. As indentured Indians came to the islands to work in the plantations, they had the opportunity to buy land and become landowners. Many Indians live in rural communities and farming is their main occupation, although many are taking up various professions.

T & T's economy is based on oil, its major export. The prosperity of the 1970s oil boom brought increased economic activity, government expansion and increased employment. Since the fall in oil prices on the world market at the start of the 1980s, Trinidad's unemployment rate has risen and is currently 12%. Nevertheless, many people still earn a living in oil-related industries.

Trinidad's other important resources include natural gas and natural asphalt from Pitch Lake, near La Brea. In the last two decades natural gas has had a great impact on the economy. Based on power generated from natural gas, the industrial complex in central Trinidad is rapidly expanding. It includes the production of fertilizer and iron and steel products.
Did you know?

When the British explorer Sir Walter Raleigh was anchored in Trinidad in 1595, he used the asphalt from Pitch Lake to caulk his leaking ships.

T & T's labour force is concentrated in construction, utilities, the service industry, mining, manufacturing and agriculture. In Tobago, tourism is an important industry. Efforts have been made recently to expand the tourist industry, increasing employment in this sector.

The oil boom has improved the status of women by expanding education and job opportunities. Women are steadily moving into professional positions with higher incomes. With increased access to secondary and post-secondary education, the people of T & T have the opportunity to work in all professional fields. Still, unemployment is highest among youth and women.

T & T has the largest economy of all Commonwealth Caribbean countries.