Methods of measuring labor force

 labor force and explain how the unemployment rate is calculated. Shortcomings of the current methods of measuring labor force participation rate and unemployment


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Labor force is people between 16 and 65 years of age either employed or seeking employment. Labor force includes students, retirees, and prisoners, those engaged in gainful employment as well as persons without reported income.


In the United States of America, unemployment rate is calculated from the monthly surveys done by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is estimated by dividing the number of persons without employment by the size of the available workforce that includes the employed and those unemployed.


Romer (1986) states that this method used in calculating the unemployment rate also includes; Social Insurance Statistics such as unemployment benefits. He claims that this method is not detailed since some benefits expire before one can find a job. In addition, the other method, employment office statistics, is not helpful as it involves monthly collection information of people without jobs who access employment offices.


Compare the perspectives of Marx (Alienated Labor) and Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs).


Marx theory of alienation is in reference to the disassociation of things that belong together. He means it from a social perspective that people are separated from things that they need. For instance, labor separates one from his family or freedom or alienation of one from self.


Maslow’s theory also regards needs. He claims that there are things that man needs naturally andThe most important of his pyramid he called deficiency needs which includes friendship and love, security, and physical needs So both theories address human needs.


Contrast the perspectives of Marx (Alienated Labor) and Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs).


Marx theory of alienation is based on capitalism and refers to work as through capitalism as an impediment to needs satisfaction. Maslow theory on the other hand only mentions human needs and not in relation to other engagements. He places the fundamental level at the bottom, and self-actualization at the top of the pyramid (Maslow, 1954).


Marx’s alienation focuses on the effect work has on workers and this can take the form of alienation from self, work, family and so on. This robs the workers their right to control the value of their preventing from benefiting from the products they produce (Langman & Fishman, 2006), while Maslow’s hierarchy of needs illustrates humans need respect and the desire to be valued by others. They engage in activities to give them the sense of contribution.


Is it possible for a worker to be both satisfied and alienated?


A worker can be alienated and satisfied without much realization. This depends on where the need is placed. The need has to be satisfied and deprivation of the need results in alienation. For instance, one can be satisfied with family but alienated to work, but if the work is not of value then they will not mind the alienation, they might not realize it.


List and discuss three (3) ways unions have fought for workers rights.


They have made the labor market competitive. Competition results in proper allocation of resources, in the labor market resources constitute individuals with varying skills. In the competitive markets, laborers are compensated according to their value in the market. When competition is perfect, wages include compensation of unfavorable working conditions.


Unions help in controlling the wage imbalance in the markets. Worker use unions to air their grievances regarding unfair wage distribution. The unions protect worker against wage inequalities such as the one experienced during economic crises (the great depression of 1930).


The unions not only give the workers a “voice” within their workplaces, but also provide them with options to express their issues regarding internal disputes. Workers have a formal way of settling their dissatisfaction with the employers, the unions help in resolving issues related to payments, prevailing working conditions and related issues.


List and discuss three (3) strategies employers have used to resist labor unions.


Employers can establish an effective employee relations program. Here managers keep the employees a breast on the happenings regarding working conditions and remuneration. The employees are made to feel they have a stake within the business. This enables the organization to get the necessary employee support to achieve the company’s objectives. Getting the employees manage some managerial objectives make them be part of the company.


Businesses establish open door policies. This allows the employees to give their grievances in any wrong done. This gives the company time to formulate the needs of their employees hindering their unionization. The employees think they are treated fairly by allowing them to express their issues regarding the management.


Businesses can inform the employees on the consequences of unionization. Whenever the workers require information on how to withdraw their union cards, the management should be willing to allow them in their quest. The firm should not only be able to respond to issue arising from unionization but also improve the workers condition within their company.


Identify how union membership varies by two (2) of the following:


Blacks are more likely to be employed within the public sector where union membership is greater than in the private sector dominated by whites.


High school graduates are less likely to join unions. On the other hand, more of workers with college degrees become union members.


Define bureaucracy.


A bureaucracy is an entity comprising of appointed government officials who are charged with the responsibility of implementing the rules, laws, and functions of their institution.


Explain what Weber means by his description of bureaucracy as the “iron cage of the future.”


Marx Weber introduced this term in reference to the growing rationalization in social circles where people were stuck in systems based on teleological systems. According to him, the shift from traditional order of kinship mobility evolved to a stringent system. This will then develop into a technically ordered, very rigid, and a dehumanizing society.


Burawoy found workers used the strategy of “making out” to resist bureaucratic control. Explain the process of “making out.”


This is a game-based reward system, where employees and their managers get satisfaction from exploring strategies needed to gain respect and prestige among colleagues. The making out process may take the form of a steel fabricator producing more pieces than usual to beat the clock.


Explain the cultural division of labor and discuss why height and weight restrictions act as statistical discrimination against women.


Obese women are paid less wages due to their size as compared to their standard weight counterparts. Some firms use information on the average characteristics of women based on weight when making their hiring selections. These firms thus use weight as a determinant of production of a worker. This is statistical discrimination.


Taller women are more preferred to their shorter counterparts when hiring. It is not that height is associated with production, but the taller a woman is the more she is likely to be employed. This may affect one’s professional advancements and lower self-esteem thus affecting their job performances.


Identify three (3) other ways in which women and/or racial and ethnic minorities experience discrimination in hiring, pay and/or promotion.


Women may experience discrimination because they do not have enough strength to perform certain duties. On the other hand, black people may not hired in security jobs because of the believe that they compromise the fight against crime.


In addition, Women may not be hired in certain jobs because they may become pregnant at one point and ask for maternity leave.




Langman, L., & Fishman, D.K. (2006). The Evolution of Alienation: Trauma, Promise, and the Millennium. Lanham.


Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.


Romer, C. (1986). Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data. The Journal of Political Economy, 1 — 37.

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