- It is the total number of people (members of labour force) who make their services available for employment in a country in a given period.
- It is the total number of people seeking for jobs in a country per period.
- It is the total number of hours which members of labour force are willing to work in a given period.
Factors Affecting the Supply of Labour or Size of Labour Force
- Size of population of a country: The larger the population, the greater the number of labour to be supplied.
- Official school leaving age: If the school leaving age is low, the proportion of labour force will be high.
- Retirement age: The age of exit in public employment will determine the labour force. The older the age the more the supply of labour and vice versa.
- Pursuit of higher education: Many people in their pursuit of higher education, go beyond the official entry age into the labour force.
- Age structure of the population: The structure of a country’s population is a significant determinant of the size of the labour force. The lower the dependant people, the higher the supply of labour and vice versa. In other words, the labour force will increase in a country with a greater number of its people between the ages of 18 and 65 years.
- Role of women in the society: In some societies, women are usually prevented from engaging in gainful employment because of religious belief, social and cultural factors and this affects the size of labour force.
- Number of working hours and working days: The number of working hours per day and the number of working days in a week or a year also helps to determine the supply of labour.
- The number of disabled: When the number of disabled persons is high especially within the working population, the supply for labour will be low.
- The number of people unwilling to work: There are certain number of able-bodied people who are also between the age bracket of 18 and 65 years but are unwilling to work. If their population is high, it will affect the size of supply of labour.
- Migration: The rate of migration can also affect the size of labour force. If the rate at which the working population leaves a country is higher than the rate at which people come in, it will lead to reduction in the supply of labour.
- Trade union activities: The activities of trade union may also affect the supply of supply. For example, when a long period of training is imposed on a certain trade, this may discourage people from engaging in such trade or profession leading to a reduction in supply of labour.
- Government policies: Certain government policies can affect the supply of labour. E.g. specific laws are made to exclude children and women from working in ministries. This can reduce the supply of labour to that area or field.