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Economy, Labor and Labor Markets

labor services, layoff, unemployment, labor unions, official definition

Labor includes work done for employers and work done in a personís own household, but labor markets deal only with work that is done for some form of financial compensation. Labor markets include all the means by which workers find jobs and by which employers locate workers to staff their businesses. A number of factors influence labor and labor markets in the United States, including immigration, discrimination, labor unions, unemployment, and income inequality between the rich and poor.

The official definition of the U.S. labor force includes people who are at least 16 years old and either working, waiting to be recalled from a layoff, or actively looking for work within the past 30 days. In 1998 the U.S. labor force included nearly 138 million people, most of them working in full-time or part-time jobs.

Most people in the United States receive their income as wages and salaries paid by firms that have hired individuals to work as their employees. Those wages and salaries are the prices they receive for the labor services they provide to their employers. Like other prices, wages and salaries are determined primarily by market forces.

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