How the Department of Labor Affects the US Economy

Department of Labor and the US Economy


The human resource of a country is perhaps the most important resource that a country can have. A country can have other resources, natural resources, but it is the strength of the human resource that determines the ability of a country to manage other types of resources. If a country fails in this, then, it cannot attain social, political, and economic advancement.

Countries which are categorized as advanced are countries which have been able to protect their workforce. For example, such countries are able to establish and enforce a minimum wage. In addition to that, employees in countries work in acceptable labor conditions, and are able to gain the fruits of their labor.

The International Labor Organization defines the total labor force as the active population which meets the criteria for employment. It includes the persons who are working, and the persons who are eligible for work. It may also include older people as far as they have the ability to meet expectations at the place of work.

In the US, labor is governed by the Department of Labor. Its headquarters is in Frances Perkins Building, Washington DC. The organization boasts of at least 17, 000 employees. This article will guide you on how the Department of Labor affects the US economy.

Workers Conditions

Some employees are fair, they give the right compensation, and they ensure that workers are working in healthy conditions. Unfortunately, some employees are not very fair, and the Department of Labor understands this as much. For example, the following companies are known to have a low employee satisfaction rate as reviewed by Glassdoor:


CDK Global



A country is not going to have a good name if the employees are working in poor working conditions. Moreover, such employees are going to feel disillusioned in their day to day work. Consequently, productivity is going to be affected and the health of the business suffers at a great length. When a company has a bad name in treating its employees, it is not able to attract a talented pool of job applicants. In turn, this affects the performance of the business in the long run.

The main mission of the Department of Labor is to promote the welfare of the employees by ensuring that they receive the right treatment in exchange for their labor. The department holds that employees have some benefits and rights, which must, at the minimum, be availed to the employees. The workplace conditions that the Department of Labor has in mind include the right wage, hourly obligations, and unemployment insurance benefits.

If the employer does not implement the recommendations by the Department of Labor, he could face a number of consequences. For example, the New York Department of Labor releases sanctions to employers who are not compliant to the labor laws. It states that violation could lead to an imprisonment, or fine, or both. Employees should note that they cannot be discharged or penalized just because they have complained to the Department of Labor.

When the workers are empowered, they are going to earn more, and consequently, spend more on the economy. In other words, empowered employees have a high purchasing power. As a result, the US businesses are able to find a ready market for their goods and services. This ensures that the local economy is strong and the American people are supporting the US economy without much reliance on other countries. The financial crises that have faced the US are a testimony on the need to empower the local people.

It is far much better when the employees work in the right conditions. Whereas employers may feel that this comes at a cost, they are going to benefit from that. It should be noted that when the employees are given the right working conditions, they are able to concentrate on their jobs, and they do not see the need of contacting DOL or other authorities about certain challenges at the workplace or certification OSHA. Moreover, the employers are going to have a good name when they are interacting with the government authorities.

Dispute Resolution

The US Department of labor is actively involved in labor disputes with the goal of offering viable solutions which are going to be enforced. Because it is difficult to please all parties, dispute resolution becomes a matter of law. The department has received a significant number of cases, and has made a deliberate effort to reach an amicable solution.

Because the department operates at the federal level, it is expected that the disputes are not minor, but rather, matters of major industrial action. In the history of the US, the times of war have seen DOL receive major industrial disputes. This is because war can suppress the local economy as income from taxes is directed towards funding a war, and not boosting the local economy.

The government has intervened in order to prevent strikes which would, otherwise, lead to a disruption of the economy. The office of the President, through the personal effort of the president, has contacted state actors in order to solve labor disputes. Because of the authority and the networks that the president has, his office is critical in the solving of high profile disputes. This is more so if the disputes involve a large number of people or a large geographical.

For instance, Theodore Roosevelt was known to support the employees and the labor unions thereof. It has been agreed that Roosevelt was genuine in supporting the improvement of the social as well as the industrial conditions of the American workforce. Local leaders have sought the intervention of the Department of Labor in order to solve pertinent problems facing the local communities as far as labor is concerned.

Barrack Obama had some values which affected the running of the Department of Labor and he was viewed as a leader who is sensitive to the needs of the workers. Obama invoked the Fair Labor Standards Act, and argued that most workers were supposed to be considered as employees. This was an argument that was very popular among the employees because it meant that employees would get more rights than independent contractors would get for the same type of work.

Affirmative Action

DOL has made a deliberate effort to ensure that there is affirmative action when it comes to the labor force and the American economy. The department has acknowledged that some Americans have a difficulty getting employment, and when they get employment, they earn lower wages. These cultural groups include Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives, and the Native Americans. This has not been observed in recent years only, but rather, it has been a matter of historical injustices where some American communities have been pushed to the periphery of the economy.

The American government notes with concern that the Alaskan Natives and American Indians have a higher rate of unemployment than other groups of people. In addition to that, they have a lower participation rate when compared to the general US population.

In connection to this, DOL has a unit known as Employment and Training Administration which has played a critical role in affirmative action to the affected cultural groups. This is done in order to impart academic and literacy skills. Such efforts are made in order to meet the regulatory expectations but also be in tandem with the traditional and cultural values of the natives.

DOL requires American workplaces to appreciate the cultures and experiences of others, and support them if need be. These efforts should include giving a voice to the marginalized groups of people. In such a case, then, DOL views that culture is supposed to be celebrated, and should not be a basis of discrimination. There has to be a culture of respecting other people’s cultures and what they stand for.

Going Global

With the current wave of globalization, it could be said that it is impossible that a country can operate in isolation. The economics of a country, including the labor dynamics, are becoming global. The US Depart of Labor has accepted that the US must accept that globalization is here to stay.

In the US, the Department of Labor has worked in other American government departments in order to attract skilled labor. Many people in the world would like to stay in the US. What the Department of Labor is concerned is that immigrants are willing to contribute to the economy of the country. The Silicon Valley, California, is a perfect example par excellence of the benefits of hiring talent from all over the world.

The US has presented itself as an esteemed destination of higher learning. Thus, it is able to attract students from all over the world. When such students come to the US to study, some can remain after graduation, and provide highly skilled labor and help in boosting the economy.

The US Department of Labor supports research through its Division of Research & Evaluation. The department understands too well that research and development plays a critical role in informing policy as well as practice. Empirical arguments are made, and evidence is presented. The outcome is that decisions are made after a careful deliberation.

DOL regularly carries out inspection in order to ensure that American businesses are in compliance to their regulations. It is not uncommon to find that the department is interviewing the employees as part and parcel of making an audit of the health of the workplace and to see if the workplace is conducive for the employees. The audit can be spontaneous, or planned, or it can be as a result of a complain. It is the responsibility of the businesses to be prepared for the coming of the DOL, for the department can come as a thief.

Rather than waiting for DOL to come, employers can make a thorough assessment and a self-audit. This can be used to show the gap as pertains to workplace conditions. Consequently, action can be taken, and the conditions can be modified. This should be done as a matter of routine.

The Need for Legal Advice

As you may have observed, the US Department of Labor is a complex organizations with many labor laws. Simply put, you may not understand such laws, and you may not understand their implications. It takes a lot of time to understand basic legal terminology, and you may think that you understand them, and you may not be knowing them. Again, ignorance is no defense, and you need to make a deliberate effort to understand the department.

If you are an employer, seek legal services about the laws and implications emanating from the US Department of Labor. This is because failure to do so could turn out very expensive on your business. In addition to that, you could spend a lot of time defending yourself from lawsuits which are not going to end soon. Such lawsuits could drain you in terms of time, energy, and resources.

If you are an employee, you need to understand that American law has already protected you at the workplace. There are provisions in place which will mean that should you have a problem at the workplace, then you can seek legal redress. You just need to document such evidence, at least, as far as possible.

However, as an employee, do not abuse the opportunity that you are already protected by the US Department of Labor. If you accuse your employer of something wrong, then be sure to show evidence, and the justification thereof. Making unfounded accusations will only compromise your relationship with your employer.


The US Department of Labor is indispensable in the running of the country and is an important asset for all Americans residents. Indeed, the success of the success of the US Department of Labor is good as it will set an example for other countries in the world. Overall, the Department of Labor has done a good work in promoting the workplace environment.