The labour supply, or working population, is the members of a country's population that are willing and able to work. It includes those currently in employment or self-employment, and also those registered as unemployed. It excludes:
  1. Those in full-time education above the age of 16.
  2. Those below the age of 16.
  3. Those above retirement age.
  4. Those who have taken early retirement.
  5. Those who choose not to work (mainly married women).
  6. Those injured/disabled to a degree at which they are unable to work.

Labour supply is influenced by changes in the overall population, and also social factors. For instance, an increasing number of married women now seek employment; many young people continue full-time education after the age of 16; and early retirement is becoming more popular (something which is unfortunate due to our increasingly aging population in the west).
Another category, not mentioned by Noung, is those workers termed discouraged.

In Canada, this element of the workforce can be particularly large, even during a period of seemingly good employment.

In general, this applies to those workers who, after weeks and months of fruitless search find no work, and drop out of the active workforce, discouraged; who will rejoin the active unemployed when the economy changes. Often this can include those who are comparatively well-qualified, say nurses, who have been, by deliberate public policy, unemployed.

By not including the discouraged in offical labour supply numbers, and justified by declaring they choose not to work, and dismiss as mostly women who have left the workforce to become wives, presumably, the employment picture in Canada certainly, is substantially misrepresented.

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