Labour, Features/ Characteristics of labour Labour, Features/ Characteristics of labour
Hamro Library
Hamro Library

Labour, Features/ Characteristics of labour


Labor is the human resource used in production. They are the active factors of production. Labor includes the mental and physical labor offered for monetary reward. To do anything for entertainment without expecting monetary reward are not called labor in economics. According to R.G. Lipsey and C. Harbury, "The term labor refers to all human resources that could be used in the production of goods and services."

Characteristics of Labor:

1. Labor is In-separable form of Laborer:
A Laborer cannot work without his labor. Whatever he performs is a result of his mental and physical exertion. Both cannot be separated from each other. The main driving force of a laborer is his labor. It may not happen that a laborer remains at home and ask his labor to go for work. It is covert i.e. it is present within a human being.

2. Labor is Indispensable for Production:
As a matter of fact, production is not possible without labor. In other words, production is the aftermath of labor. Labor is necessary to activate the production process. Every aspect of production ranging from purchase of raw material to final distribution in the market entirely depends upon labor. As a general rule, "efficient labor gives efficient production."

3. Labor is perishable:
A very important characteristic of labor is that it is perishable by natural law. It perishes with the passage of time. Since labor is present within a human being, therefore the end of a labor’s life means an end of labor as well. A loss of labor means loss forever.

4. Labor is an Active Factor of Production:
Labor gives production itself. Nothing has to apply to start work except labor itself gives the performance and thus activates the production process. A noteworthy feature of this characteristic is that other factors of production cannot produce anything without the aid of labor.

5. Laborer sells his labor, not himself:
Labor falls within the category of the service industry. It is an intangible product of laborer for which he is free to sell it to anyone he likes. The place where he is free to sell it to anyone he likes. The place where he works and the people, who hire him, actually hire the labor service not him.

6. Labor is both means and ends of Production:
Labor is not only meant for producing. They are fully entitled to use whatever they have produced. Being a human being the labor works for the satisfaction of their wants and their labor act as the means to achieve their ends i.e. their satisfaction.

7. Labor is mobile:
Labor is mobile in nature. It may be shifted from one place to another whenever and wherever it is needed. But however, the laborers when get set at the particular working place not very easily move from there because they may be fully satisfied working there.

8. Labor cannot be measured:
The amount of labor spent on a particular work cannot be calculated. It is almost impossible even to assume that how many units of labor are required to perform a particular work. Labor is an immeasurable factor of production.

9. Labors differ in efficiency:
All the laborers are not alike their ability to do work i.e. the labor differ from each other. Labor having high mental and physical capabilities to do a work differs from that having low physical and mental capabilities. This efficiency depends on many factors.

10. Weak bargaining power:
Since labor is perishable, laborers have weak bargaining power. They are generally illiterate and ill-organized. But, nowadays the existence of trade unions may enhance their power.

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