labor-intensive

adjective la·bor-in·ten·sive \ ˈlā-bər-in-ˌten(t)-siv \

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

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Financial Definition of LABOR-INTENSIVE

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.


LABOR-INTENSIVE Defined for English Language Learners

labor-intensive

Definition of labor-intensive for English Language Learners

  • : requiring a lot of work or workers to produce


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