MicroeconomicsScience and Technology
Introduction to Labor and Financial Markets
The Census Bureau reports that as of 2012, 19.5% of the U.S. population was over 60 years old, which means that almost 61 million people are reaching an age when they will need increased medical care.
The baby boomer population, the group born between 1946 and 1964, is comprised of approximately 74 million people who have just reached retirement age. As this population grows older, they will be faced with common healthcare issues such as heart conditions, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s that may require hospitalization, long-term, or at-home nursing care. Aging baby boomers and advances in life-saving and life-extending technologies will increase the demand for healthcare and nursing. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act, which expands access to healthcare for millions of Americans, will further increase the demand.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nursing jobs are expected to increase by 26% between 2010 and 2020. The median wage rate of $64,690 (in 2010) for nurses is also expected to increase. The BLS reports that in 2011, almost 300,000 jobs were created in the nursing field alone, and it forecasts that 400,000 nurses will be needed to replace the existing workforce, many of whom are members of the retiring baby boom generation. One concern is the low rate of enrollment in nursing programs to help meet the growing demand. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), enrollment in 2011 increased by only 5.1% due to a shortage of nursing educators and teaching facilities.
These data tell us, as economists, that the market for healthcare professionals, and nurses in particular, will face several challenges. Our study of supply and demand will help us to analyze in the second half of this case at chapter’s end what might happen in the labor market for nursing and other healthcare professionals.
In this chapter, you will learn about:
- Demand and Supply at Work in Labor Markets
- Demand and Supply in Financial Markets
- The Market System as an Efficient Mechanism for Information
The theories of supply and demand do not apply just to markets for goods. They apply to any market, even markets for financial services like labor and financial investments. Labor markets are markets for employees or jobs. Financial services markets are markets for saving or borrowing.
When we think about demand and supply curves in goods and services markets, it is easy to picture who the demanders and suppliers are: businesses produce the products and households buy them. Who are the demanders and suppliers in labor and financial service markets? In labor markets job seekers (individuals) are the suppliers of labor, while firms and other employers who hire labor are the demanders for labor. In financial markets, any individual or firm who saves contributes to the supply of money, and any who borrows (person, firm, or government) contributes to the demand for money.
As a college student, you most likely participate in both labor and financial markets. Employment is a fact of life for most college students: In 2011, says the BLS, 52% of undergraduates worked part time and another 20% worked full time. Most college students are also heavily involved in financial markets, primarily as borrowers. Among full-time students, about half take out a loan to help finance their education each year, and those loans average about $6,000 per year. Many students also borrow for other expenses, like purchasing a car. As this chapter will illustrate, we can analyze labor markets and financial markets with the same tools we use to analyze demand and supply in the goods markets.
- Welcome to Economics!
- Choice in a World of Scarcity
- Demand and Supply
- Labor and Financial Markets
- Consumer Choices
- Cost and Industry Structure
- Perfect Competition
- Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly
- Monopoly and Antitrust Policy
- Environmental Protection and Negative Externalities
- Introduction to Environmental Protection and Negative Externalities
- The Economics of Pollution
- Command-and-Control Regulation
- Market-Oriented Environmental Tools
- The Benefits and Costs of U.S. Environmental Laws
- International Environmental Issues
- The Tradeoff between Economic Output and Environmental Protection
- Positive Externalities and Public Goods
- Poverty and Economic Inequality
- Issues in Labor Markets: Unions, Discrimination, Immigration
- Information, Risk, and Insurance
- Financial Markets
- Public Economy
- International Trade
- Globalization and Protectionism
- Introduction to Globalization and Protectionism
- Protectionism: An Indirect Subsidy from Consumers to Producers
- International Trade and Its Effects on Jobs, Wages, and Working Conditions
- Arguments in Support of Restricting Imports
- How Trade Policy Is Enacted: Globally, Regionally, and Nationally
- The Tradeoffs of Trade Policy
- The Use of Mathematics in Principles of Economics
- Indifference Curves
- Present Discounted Value