THE DEMAND FOR LABOR
Labor markets, like other markets in the economy, are governed by the forces of supply and demand. This is illustrated in Figure 1. In panel (a), the supply and demand for apples determine the price of apples. In panel (b), the supply and demand for apple pickers determine the price, or wage, of apple pickers.
As we have already noted, labor markets are different from most other markets because labor demand is a derived demand. Most labor services, rather than being final goods ready to be enjoyed by consumers, are inputs into the production of other goods. To understand labor demand, we need to focus on the firms that hire the labor and use it to produce goods for sale. By examining the link between the production of goods and the demand for labor, we gain insight into the determination of equilibrium wages.
Figure 1 The Versatility of Supply and Demand
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