The key areas of the economy were nationalized in 1975, the public sector is the largest employer of the country. The export-oriented economy depends heavily on oil at 19.7% (2001) of the gross domestic product (GDP). The trade of oil, which covered over half of government expenditure at the beginning of the 80s, suffered setbacks. The currency collapse in 1983 and the oil price breaks of 1986 and 1988 led to an inflation rate of approximately 80% (1989) and a budget deficit of 10% of GDP (1988). The inflation rate of 2006 was at 13.6%. Venezuela, with a dept of 41.8 billion U.S. $ (1998) is Latin Americas fourth largest debtor after Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. President Perez 1989 initiated an economic reform that targets on price increases and the privatization of state companies for a slow economic recovery.
Industry: The industry contributes 24.4% of GDP. The most important industry is the oil sector, which is concentrated on the Rio Orinoco like the entire heavy industry. The petrochemical industry, with a large complex in Moron, has experienced a rapid ascent. Also pushed forward is the processing of aluminium and iron and steel production. The year-long one-sided focus on oil has led to the development of a delayed industrial diversity.
Agriculture: With only 7.1% (1998), the part of Venezuelan agriculture on GDP is the lowest among all Latin American countries. Of the total area of the country, only 20% are in agricultural use. The oil export allows a high import capacity of food, and hence the agriculture got ruined. The Venezuelan agricultural politic effected that the own cultivated land guaranties self-sufficiency. The main product is corn at about 25% of the national acreage, followed by rice, beans and other legumes. Main cultivation region are the Andes.
Energy: The production of electrical energy has increased from to 24.1% to 41.7 billion kWh in the years 1980-96. This volume was accounted to thermal power plants for almost 60% before the Guri hydroelectric Orinoco estuary has secured 75% of the Venezuelan electricity in 1996/1998.
Workforce: The strong internal migration to the cities has led to a surplus of unskilled workers, while skilled worker shortage is still a barrier for the further industrialization. The unemployment rate is at 9.8% (2006).