Members of the elite played on the fact that the internal economic situation was in a very precarious condition, which they attributed to the ineptitude and high level of corruption of the government as well as to policies such as the Labor Code. After the Labor Code was enacted into law, the role of the Ministry of Labor was to set the guidelines for the new procedures to be followed and to oversee adherence to these procedures. The private sector bitterly denounced the role assigned by the Labor Code to the Ministry of Labor, that is, the ministry was supposed to be a protector of labor as well as an arbiter in labor disputes. Panama's economic growth rate during the 1960s was high and sustained, averaging an 8 percent annual increase. Along with the collapse of the construction industry, private investment also dropped in absolute terms.