March 23, 2018 

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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: An independent federal agency run by a 5-member commission that's charged by Congress with preventing unfair and deceptive business activities and other various monopoly practices that tend to inhibit competition. The FTC was set up in 1914 to help the Justice Department enforce a growing number of antitrust laws. It has the authority to restrict assorted market monopolizing practices, such as mergers, false or misleading advertising, price discrimination, and price fixing. Since the time of it's formation, the FTC has grown into an important consumer protection agency.

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The total number of people in an economy, society, or country willing and able to exert mental and/or physical efforts in productive activities. The labor force is a more technical term for the labor resource or labor supply. It includes both employed workers and unemployed workers. An official variation of this term is civilian labor force. While labor force may or may not include military personnel, the civilian labor force explicitly excludes the military. Labor and labor resources are the theoretical terms that economists like to banter about. Labor force and civilian labor force are the terms of choice for government policy makers, data-crunchers, and others who need precise labor resource numbers.
In principle, the labor force is everyone 16 years of age and over who is willing and able to work. It includes those who are either employed or unemployed, but actively seeking employment.

  • An employed person is specified as someone who: (1) is working as a paid employee, (2) is working with our without explicit pay in a business that they own, (3) is working at least 15 hours a week in a family-operated business, or (4) has had a paying job but is temporarily absent due to illness, vacation, labor dispute, etc.

  • An unemployed person is specified as someone who: (1) has voluntarily or involuntarily left a job and is seeking another, (2) has been laid-off from a job but expects to be recalled within six months, (3) is seeking employment after an extended period without a job nor having looked for a job, or (4) is seeking employment for the very first time.

The labor force tends to be about half of the total population. This means that about half of the overall population is NOT included in the labor force. In addition to children under 16 years of age, other segments of society that generally lie outside the labor force designation include elderly, disabled, homemakers, students, prisoners, discouraged workers, and military personnel. In some cases, those excluded are unwilling to work (homemakers, students, and some elderly). In other cases, they are unable to work (children, prisoners, and other elderly).

Whether or not military personnel are included in the labor force often depends on the particular analysis. At times, the term labor force is used generically to mean anyone working or potentially able to work, including military (as well as discouraged workers, homemakers, and others). In other cases, it is used synonymously with the more precise and technical term civilian labor force.


Recommended Citation:

LABOR FORCE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: March 23, 2018].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | civilian labor force | unemployment rate | labor force participation rate | employed persons | unemployed persons | not in the labor force | unemployment rate, measurement problems | alternative unemployment rates | employment rate | employment-population ratio |

Or For A Little Background...

     | unemployment | labor | macroeconomic problems | macroeconomic goals | factors of production | full employment | recession | circular flow |

And For Further Study...

     | unemployment sources | natural unemployment | unemployment problems | unemployment reasons | unemployment, production possibilities | full employment, production possibilities | Current Population Survey | Bureau of Labor Statistics | gross domestic product | business cycles | macroeconomic markets | resource markets | inflation | stabilization policies |

Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | Bureau of Labor Statistics |

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