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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Analyze cyclical unemployment
  • Explain the relationship between sticky wages and employment using various economic arguments
  • Apply supply and demand models to unemployment and wages

We have seen that unemployment varies across times and places. What causes changes in unemployment? There are different answers in the short run and in the long run. Let's look at the short run first.

Cyclical unemployment

Let’s make the plausible assumption that in the short run, from a few months to a few years, the quantity of hours that the average person is willing to work for a given wage does not change much, so the labor supply curve does not shift much. In addition, make the standard ceteris paribus assumption that there is no substantial short-term change in the age structure of the labor force, institutions and laws affecting the labor market, or other possibly relevant factors.

One primary determinant of the demand for labor from firms is how they perceive the state of the macro economy . If firms believe that business is expanding, then at any given wage they will desire to hire a greater quantity of labor, and the labor demand curve shifts to the right. Conversely, if firms perceive that the economy is slowing down or entering a recession, then they will wish to hire a lower quantity of labor at any given wage, and the labor demand curve will shift to the left. The variation in unemployment caused by the economy moving from expansion to recession or from recession to expansion (i.e. the business cycle) is known as cyclical unemployment    .

From the standpoint of the supply-and-demand model of competitive and flexible labor markets, unemployment represents something of a puzzle. In a supply-and-demand model of a labor market, as illustrated in [link] , the labor market    should move toward an equilibrium wage and quantity. At the equilibrium wage (We), the equilibrium quantity (Qe) of labor supplied by workers should be equal to the quantity of labor demanded by employers.

The unemployment and equilibrium in the labor market

The graph reveals the complexity of unemployment in that, presumably, the number of jobs available should equal the number of individuals pursuing employment.
In a labor market with flexible wages, the equilibrium will occur at wage We and quantity Qe, where the number of people looking for jobs (shown by S) equals the number of jobs available (shown by D).

One possibility for unemployment is that people who are unemployed are those who are not willing to work at the current equilibrium wage, say $10 an hour, but would be willing to work at a higher wage, like $20 per hour. The monthly Current Population Survey would count these people as unemployed, because they say they are ready and looking for work (at $20 per hour). But from an economist’s point of view, these people are choosing to be unemployed.

Probably a few people are unemployed because of unrealistic expectations about wages, but they do not represent the majority of the unemployed. Instead, unemployed people often have friends or acquaintances of similar skill levels who are employed, and the unemployed would be willing to work at the jobs and wages similar to what is being received by those people. But the employers of their friends and acquaintances do not seem to be hiring. In other words, these people are involuntarily unemployed. What causes involuntary unemployment ?

Questions & Answers

how do we calculate the firm's profit maximizing output in the short run given marginal cost ,average cost and average variable costs?
Nomuhle Reply
what is employment?
Ahmarh Reply
what is meant by broadening the tax base?
Fiona Reply
What is scarcity.
Npoanlarb Reply
when there is adequate resources
Fiona
the represent inadequacy of resources relative to the needs of individuals
Moses
scarcity is the unavailability of resources to attain unlimited wants and needs of people
Nzubechukwu
for exam land and money
Ruchi
hi negi
Gul
why our wants are limited
Npoanlarb Reply
nooo want is unlimited but resources are limited
Ruchi
and do to that there occurs scarcity and we have to make choice in order to have what we need if need be I will explain more
Madara
our wants are not limited but rather the resources
Moses
as we know that there are two principle of microeconomics scarcity of resources and they have alternative uses...
Ruchi
yes .....
Mathias
because our resources are limited./we have a limited resources.
Ijeoma
our wants are not limited. because always the desire for something always arises. our means are rather limited and our wants are unlimited
Anthony
what is demand
Thank Reply
demand is something wt we called in economic theory of demand it simply means if price of product is increase then demand of product will decrease
Ruchi
inverse relationship between demand and price
Ruchi
in microeconomic
Ruchi
demand is what and how much you want and what's your need...
Shikhar
how can one be so with economics even while you have less knowledge in mathematics.
OKORO Reply
why is it that some products increases everyday by day
Chiamaka Reply
because demand is increase
Ruchi
because demand is increase
Patience
but how demand increases?
Aziz
Because of the Marketing and purchasing power of people.
AmarbirSingh
but how could we know that people's demands have increased everyday by day and how could we know that this is time to produced the products in the market. Is any connection among them
yaqoob
for normal good people demand remain the same if price of product will increase or not
Ruchi
see that some product which increases day by day is comes under normal good which is used by consumer
Ruchi
Seems hot discussing going here
Shamamet
If there are less products demand starts to increase for those products
Shamamet
Economics is really interesting to learn ....
Shamamet
see there is Inferior goods ands normal goods inferior good demand is rarely increase whereas as we talk about normal good demand will absolutely Increase whether price is increase or not
Ruchi
and demand for normal goods increase cause people's income as a while increases time to time
Abhisek
and it might also be that the cost of raw materials are high.
ATTAH
may be
Ruchi
obviously because demand is increasing.....and price is getting low.....
Shikhar
hmmm there is inverse relationship between demand and price
Ruchi
This is because the supply of those products in relation to raw materials are decreasing and they are also necessities. This crate shortage in the market, so sellers will rise the prices of those products.
Abdul
increase in price of product is as a result of increase in supply... according to law of supply
Nzubechukwu
Importance of economics
Odunayomi Reply
the nature and significance of economics studies
Deborah
What is demand
Shuaib Reply
deman is amount of goods and services a consumer is willing and able to buy or purchase at a given price.
Sainabou
the willingness and ability of a body to purchase goods nd servicesbis called demand ,so if she/has ability but doesn't have willingness it's not a demand same if she or he has willingness but doesn't has ability it's not a demand too
Gul
Demand refers to as quantities of a goods and services in which consumers are willing and able to purchase at a given period of time and demand can also be defined as the desire or willingness and backed by the ability to pay.
Fadiga
Yeah
Mathias
What is Choice
Kofi
Choice refers to the ability of a consumer or producer to decide which good, service or resource to purchase or provide from a range of possible options. Being free to chose is regarded as a fundamental indicator of economic well being and development.
Shonal
choice is a act of selecting or choosing from the numerous or plenty wants.
Fadiga
demand is want and it is also what you need and able to afford a particular period of time... because demand changes with time.
Ijeoma
Demand refers to the ability of the consumer to pay for a particular product at a given price
Abdul
this is the desire or willingness to purchase goods and services backed up with the ability to pày
Nzubechukwu
how does consumer make profit
Clifford Reply
by buying goods in bulk.
Ijeoma
Compare and contract the function of commercial bank and the central bank of Nigeria
Akwi Reply
what do think is the difference between overhead costs and prime cost
Abdoulkarim
what is economics
Mohamed Reply
economics is a social science that study's how resources can be used to produce goods and services for society
Nathan
Economic is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scares means which have alternatives uses or purposes.
Fadiga
what is economics
Mohamed Reply
what is the basic economic problem
John Reply
rules
Buayadarat_Gaming
unlimited wants vs limited resources
Nathan

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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