Labour is the active factor of production. In common parlance, labour means manual labour or unskilled work. But in Economics the term ‘labour’ has a wider meaning. It refers to any work undertaken for securing an income or reward. Such work may be manual or intellectual. For example, the work done by an agricultural worker or a cook or rickshaw puller or a mason is manual. The work of a doctor or teacher or an engineer is intellectual. In short, labour in economics refers to any type of work performed by a labourer for earning an income.
According to Marshall, labour represents services provided by the factor labour, which helps in yielding an income to the owner of the labour-power.
Characteristics of Labour:
* Labour is the animate factor of production.
* Labour is an active factor of production.
* Labour implies several types: it may be manual (farmer) or intellectual (teacher, lawyer etc).
* Labour is perishable.
* Labour is inseparable from the Labourer.
* Labour is less mobile between places and occupations.
* Labour is a means as well as an end.It is both the cause of production and consumer of the product.