HAVANA — Cuba says 310,000 people have become licensed independent workers as the government tries to lift a foundering economy by allowing some private-sector activity.

An article in Communist Party newspaper Granma says 222,000 of those are new licenses issued since October. It cites Labor Ministry statistics through April 30.

The largest group of new independent workers are in food production and sales, about 50,000. Employees of private businesses are second with 39,000.

About 14,000 have transportation licenses that let them operate taxis and the like.

Saturday’s article said the largest number of new licenses — 67,000 — were issued in Havana.

President Raul Castro launched an initiative last year to loosen state control over the economy.



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