Labor Intensive

A process or industry that requires a large amount of labor to produce its goods or services. The degree of labor intensity is typically measured in proportion to the amount of capital required to produce the goods/services; the higher the proportion of labor costs required, the more labor intensive the business.


Labor intensive industries include restaurants, hotels, agriculture and mining. Advances in technology and worker productivity have moved some industries away from labor-intensive status, but many still remain.

Labor costs are considered variable, while capital costs are considered fixed. This gives labor-intensive industries an advantage in controlling expenses during market downturns by controlling the size of the employee base. Disadvantages include limited economies of scale (you can't pay workers less by hiring more of them), and susceptibility to wage forces within the labor market.


Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • labor-intensive — [lā′bərin ten′siv] adj. requiring a large labor force and a relatively small investment in capital goods [a labor intensive industry or plant] …   English World dictionary

  • labor-intensive — UK US adjective US HR ► LABOUR INTENSIVE(Cf. ↑labour intensive) …   Financial and business terms

  • labor-intensive — labor in tensive adjective a labor intensive industry or process needs a lot of people, so that a large proportion of its costs are salaries rather than new machines or the materials to make things with …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • labor-intensive — adjective requiring a large expenditure of labor but not much capital cottage industries are labor intensive • Syn: ↑labour intensive • Similar to: ↑effortful * * * ˌlabour inˈtensive [labour intensive] …   Useful english dictionary

  • labor-intensive — adjective Requiring a great deal of work, especially physical and manual effort. Picking beans is a very labor intensive activity, theres no machine made that can do it …   Wiktionary

  • labor-intensive — la′bor inten sive adj. bus requiring a large supply of labor relative to the need for capital Compare capital intensive • Etymology: 1950–55 …   From formal English to slang

  • labor-intensive — adjective Date: 1953 having high labor costs per unit of output; especially requiring greater expenditure on labor than in capital …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • labor-intensive — adjective the American spelling of labour intensive …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • labor-intensive — /lay beuhr in ten siv/, adj. requiring or using a large supply of labor, relative to capital. [1950 55] * * * …   Universalium

  • labor-intensive — Fin involving large numbers of workers or high labor costs …   The ultimate business dictionary

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