DEFINITION of 'Geographical Labor Mobility'

Geographical labor mobility refers to the level of freedom that workers have to relocate in order to find gainful employment that reflects their training and occupational interests. The European Union (EU) is most active in trying to increase its geographic labor mobility by helping qualified workers easily cross state and national boundaries to find "best fit" employment, so that it can ensure individual, corporate and national economic growth. North Americans, on the other hand, traditionally enjoy a high level of geographical labor mobility within their own country, but the immigration debate, the war on drugs and post-9/11 border restrictions have decreased labor mobility across national borders.

BREAKING DOWN 'Geographical Labor Mobility'

Geographic labor mobility is used to qualitatively measure the ability for workers within an economy to move in order to find new or better employment. Increasing the potential geographic mobility of a labor force helps accelerate the economic growth of a nation or other organization. Governments focus on increasing geographic labor mobility by providing better transportation options, helping raise the standards of living, and advancing government policies that help with mobility within an economy.

Determinants of Geographic Labor Mobility

Root factors such as transportation options, standards of living, and other government-related policies are the main determinants in fluidity of geographic labor mobility. At the economic level, these determinants are specific to a region's size, distance and aggregate job opportunities. At the personal level, these determinants are specific to personal circumstances, such as family situations, housing issues, local infrastructure and individual education.

Specific key factors determine the ease of geographic labor mobility. First, the mobility of the labor force depends on the aggregate level of education. A higher level of education results in a greater ability to move and find employment. Personal outlook is also a key driver. If an individual employee is not motivated to seek employment elsewhere, it results in low geographic labor mobility. Agricultural developments also affect labor mobility in that they drive people from densely populated areas to less-densely populated areas during busy periods in the agriculture industry.

Industrialization is another key determinant of geographic labor mobility. Highly industrialized economies provide more blue collar job opportunities, increasing the labor mobility of the economy. Further, industrialization helps workers move from rural locations to larger cities where there are more job opportunities. Finally, an economy's level of trade is a direct factor in the geographic labor mobility of its workforce. For example, increasing the level of domestic and international trade requires that offices and other institutions be opened in various parts of a country, increasing job opportunities in these locations.

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