The term “labour market” does not do justice to the complex relationship between workers and their jobs. Unlike ordinary goods and services, such as steel plates or coffee mugs, workers care about how they are treated and have other things to do with their time.
This is clear from recent events. Last week, railway workers nearly went on strike over working conditions, such as how long they could take medical leave without penalty. In Minnesota, nurses quit their jobs for higher pay and the right to refuse what they see as unsafe situations. In Pennsylvania, striking nursing home workers just won a pay rise and limits on the number of residents a staff member must care for.