What is a Labour Market?

In labour markets the buyers are employers (representing demand), and the sellers are employees (representing supply). Labour markets involve the exchange of a service, usually labour, between the buyer (employer) and seller (employee).

The amount of labour supplied and the amount of labour demanded influence the wages, benefits, and conditions of employment that are offered and/or accepted. Fluctuations of supply and demand are influenced by a number of forces including economic activity, demographics, globalization, education, technology, government policy, labour market participation rate, average hours worked, employee productivity, aggregate workforce skills, retirement behaviour, migration, work-life choices of the workforce, etc.

In order to better understand labour markets they are frequently subdivided by occupation, by industry, and by geography. These three common subdivisions are chosen to develop standards for reporting and collecting information about labour markets.

  • Occupations are described in a structure called the National Occupation Classification (NOC)
  • Industries are described in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS); and
  • Geographies are based on divisions made by Statistics Canada in the collection of census information

What is LMI?

Labour Market Information (LMI) refers to any information associated with labour markets. LMI can come in both quantitative and qualitative forms:

  • Quantitative forms of LMI are numbers like those collected by Statistics Canada or the US Bureau of Labour Statistics
  • Qualitative forms of LMI consist of things like interviews, observations, or focus groups where the information is subjective

While there are many applications for LMI, most often it is used to monitor and forecast economic trends, including: occupation projections, wage characteristics, demographic characteristics, and recruitment methods use by either employers or job seekers.

The goal of LMI is to offer decision makers, from business owners to individual workers to government planners, the ability to analyze or access analysis in a way that increases their understanding of the conditions they face.