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In this lesson, students listen to an audio file about how the growing demand for workers in Iraq in May 2004 affected the job market, and how the effects of low growth in the supply of workers shaped companies' hiring practices and influenced Iraqi society.

KEY CONCEPTS

Demand, Markets, Scarcity, Supply

STUDENTS WILL

  • Help WantedIdentify ways in which how governments and private companies adjust to conditions when the growth in demand outpaces that of supply.
  • Predict the change in demand for workers and the market price or wages for the Iraqi workers.
  • Comprehend how scarce goods and services are allocated in a market economy. (Through the influence of prices on production and consumption decisions when growth in demand exceeds supply).

INTRODUCTION

Introduce the lesson by explaining that scarcity has important consequences: When demand for goods and services is greater than the supply, the choices of governments, private companies, and individuals are affected. In this lesson, the students will learn how the high demand for and low supply of workers in Iraq is affecting the hiring process and the people of Iraq. The students will learn how governments and private companies compensate for conditions of scarcity of goods and services when the growth in demand exceeds that of supply. They will also learn about problems that can occur when changes in demand out-pace supply.

RESOURCES

[Note to teacher: The following link requires RealPlayer www.real.com/dmm/realplayer/search .]

  • Marketplace Morning Report : This is an audio clip about the high demand for and low supply of workers in Iraq. It explains how scarcity in the labor market is affecting the hiring process and the people of Iraq.
    Marketplace Morning Report
     
  • NCEE Glossary: This glossary will help the students become familiar with words that they do not know.
    www.econedlink.org/economic-resources/glossary.php  
     
  • Interactive Flash Activity: Iraq's Supply and Demand note-taker This note-taker will be used throughout the lesson.
    note-taker

PROCESS

Activity 1

Have the students listen to the Marketplace audio file about Iraq's Supply and Demand. As they listen they will complete an outline of important information contained in the story. Then they will use their outlines to answer both factual and evaluative questions about economic concepts addressed in the story.

Provide the following instructions:

Listen to the Marketplace audio file about Iraq's Supply and Demand. The first time that you listen to the audio file, focus on the important economic terms it uses. As you listen to the segment, record any words you don't know or words that you think are important economic terms.

Listen to the audio file again; and as you are listening, use the note-taker to find supporting details for three main ideas. The three main ideas you will focus on today are these:

1. Demand for Civilian Workers in Iraq
2. Obstacles to Hiring Qualified Workers
3. Failure to Meet the High Demands of Iraqi Society

Additionally,

Then listen to the audio file again to gather additional supporting details and possible definitions of the vocabulary words, using context clues; record these in your note-taker.

Finally, you will be asked a series of questions related to the story.

[Teacher notes:

While using their note-taker, the students should identify supporting details about the following:

1. Demand for Civilian Workers in Iraq
2. Obstacles to Hiring Qualified Workers
3. Failure to Meet the High Demands of Iraqi Society]

Questions:

Question 1: What are civilians being hired to do in Iraq? [correct answer is d]

a) To build bridges
b) To provide security and to translate
c) To interrogate prisoners
d) All of the above

Question 2: Why are these services in high demand in Iraq at this time? [Possible answers: to rebuild the country after the war; to improve the country's infrastructure; to translate for the many foreigners present in the country]

Question 3: How long does it take the new worker to get through the security clearance process? [correct answer is b]

a) One to six months
b) One year to 18 months
c) Six months to one year
d) More than three years

Question 4: What problems might this security clearance process create for contractors seeking to hire workers? [Possible answers: the process takes so long that workers may be lost; some qualified workers may not be passing the security clearance process; some less qualified workers may be hired]

Question 5: Which of the following is a reason for the high demand for workers in Iraq? [correct answer is d]

a) Urgent need for services such as electricity
b) Political need to show progress in reconstruction
c) Fear that the Iraqi people will lose confidence
d) All of the above

Question 6: What steps could be or could have been taken to alleviate the high demand for workers? [Possible answers: more troops could have been sent to help the reconstruction effort; there could have been a more thorough plan for the reconstruction effort from the beginning]

Activity 2


Have the students work with partners to discuss the following questions and record their ideas.

The news story you just heard highlighted some main causes and effects of the high demand for and low supply of foreign workers in Iraq. If you were a contractor in Iraq looking for workers, what are some obstacles you would face and how would you attract workers? Consider the following:
Iraq Map
-What are some obstacles not mentioned in the news clip that you might face when trying to attract workers to Iraq? [Possible answers: Foreign workers are being killed and kidnapped by insurgents; the quality of life is very low]

-How would you prioritize the work that needs to be completed (i.e., what work needs to be completed first)? [Answers will vary]

-If the supply of workers remains low and the demand continues to rise, what will most likely happen to workers' salaries? [Possible answers: Workers' salaries should increase since the demand is so high; increases in pay should attract workers to Iraq.]

-What could you do to attract workers to Iraq? [Possible answers: Provide security, provide translators, offer competitive salaries, ease the security clearance process.]

-Would you consider hiring Iraqi civilians? [Answers will vary.]

-Are you more concerned with the quality of the worker or with the workers' ability to pass the security clearance process? [Answers will vary.]

CONCLUSION

By the conclusion of this lesson, the students should be able to identify at least three causes for the high demand for workers in Iraq and three main causes for the low supply of workers in Iraq.

The students also should be able to identify ways in which the laws of supply and demand affect society.

ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

NotebookEvaluation 1: Have the students hand in their note-takers.
The students' work should reflect an understanding of the laws of supply and demand and the effect they have had on Iraq in 2004.

Evaluation 2: Have the students discuss Activity 2 with partners and turn in their recorded ideas.

While the students are discussing the scenario, circulate throughout the room and listen to the discussions. The discussions should demonstrate an understanding of how the laws of supply and demand affect decision-making.

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

Students can learn more about supply and demand by completing, What Do People Want to Wear? and Economics in the Headlines.

EDUCATOR REVIEWS