eli5: what is a strong labor market?


Not needing so much of an eli5, but is a strong labor market once when the workers have the ability to get/find several job opportunities, or is it when employers feel they have a vast amount of candidates to consider for jobs? Lastly, to confirm my understanding i would assume the former is much better for both workers and employers, while the latter would only benefit employers.


In: 1

When we’re talking about prices in markets, “strong” means that something has a high price relative to something else, because it is in more demand.

For instance, “strong dollar” means that the price of a dollar in other currencies (like yen, euros, or pounds) is high. A year ago, €1 = $1.20, today €1 = $0.99, so the dollar has “strengthened” relative to the euro. This means that European goods have become cheaper for American buyers, and American goods have become more expensive for European buyers.

“Strong labor market” means that *the price of labor has risen,* relative to other things that a business needs in order to run, such as raw materials, fuel, etc. This is because there are not very many people looking for jobs right now: *unemployment is low.* This means that *employers need to raise wages* in order to compete with other employers, to get and retain workers.

(Low unemployment doesn’t mean literally *everyone* has a job. People who are out of work *but not looking for a job* don’t count as unemployed. This includes people who have given up on looking, people who have retired (including early retirement), people who have become stay-at-home parents, people who are in prison, etc.)