la·​bor-in·​ten·​sive | \ ˈlā-bər-in-ˌten(t)-siv How to pronounce labor-intensive (audio) \

Definition of labor-intensive

: having high labor costs per unit of output especially : requiring greater expenditure on labor than in capital

First Known Use of labor-intensive

1928, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about labor-intensive

Statistics for labor-intensive

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for labor-intensive

The first known use of labor-intensive was in 1928

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for labor-intensive



Financial Definition of labor-intensive

What It Is

Labor intensive is used to describe any production process that requires higher labor input than capital input in terms of cost.

How It Works

The production of goods and services requires labor and capital in varying amounts, depending on the product. If the labor cost outweighs the capital cost, it indicates that the production process is labor intensive. For example, mining is considered labor intensive because a majority of production costs are related to paying workers.

Other industries considered labor intensive include hospitality (hotels and restaurants) and construction.

Why It Matters

Production costs for labor intensive goods and services are variable since businesses can add or subtract workers depending on business conditions. This allows producers to retain some control over production costs. During economic downturns, this can be an advantage over capital intensive producers, which normally have higher fixed costs.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of labor-intensive

: requiring a lot of work or workers to produce

Comments on labor-intensive

What made you want to look up labor-intensive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!