Labor productivity relates output to the labor hours used in the production of that output. Two BLS programs produce labor productivity and costs (LPC) measures for sectors of the U.S. economy.
The Major Sector Productivity program publishes quarterly and annual measures of output per hour and unit labor costs for the U.S. business, nonfarm business, and manufacturing sectors. These are the productivity statistics most often cited by the national media.
The Industry Productivity program publishes annual measures of output per hour and unit labor costs for U.S. industries.
May 02, 2013
Productivity increased 0.7 percent in the nonfarm business sector in the
first quarter of 2013; unit labor costs increased 0.5 percent (seasonally
adjusted annual rates). In manufacturing, productivity increased 3.8
percent and unit labor costs decreased 0.5 percent.
March 21, 2013
Labor productivity rose in 63 percent of the 86 detailed manufacturing industries
in 2011, down from 78 percent in 2010. Fewer industries recorded gains in output
in 2011 than in the previous year, while more industries posted gains in hours.
August 30, 2012
Labor productivity (output per hour) grew in wholesale trade and retail trade, and was
unchanged in food services and drinking places in 2011. Unit labor costs rose in
wholesale trade and food services and drinking places, but fell in retail trade.
May 31, 2012
Labor productivity rose in 69 percent of the detailed service-providing and mining industries studied in
2010, up from 42 percent of the industries in 2009. More industries recorded productivity increases in
2010 than in any year since 2003.
Major Sector Data
- "Technical Information About the Major Sector Productivity and Costs Methods" (HTML) (PDF 58 KB) This document describes the labor productivity measures that BLS publishes for the major sectors of the U.S. economy, as well as the methodology used to calculate these measures. February 2008.
- "Industry Employment and Hours" (HTML) , March 29, 2010.
- Note on the Differences Between the /Quarterly Hourly Compensation Measures and the Employment Cost Index (ECI), January 2007.
- Construction of Employment and Hours for Self-employed and other Nonfarm workers and for all Farm workers, using Current Population Survey data for primary and secondary jobs." (PDF), March 2006.
- "Construction of Average Weekly Hours for Supervisory and Nonproduction Wage and Salary Workers in Detailed Industries" (PDF), August 2005.
- "Construction of average weekly hours for supervisory and nonproduction wage and salary workers in private nonfarm establishments" (PDF), October 2004.
- "Hours at work ratios derived from the Employment Cost Index, 2001-2003" (PDF), Brief description of the Bureau of Labor Statistics new ratios of hours at work to hours paid and reasons for the discontinuation of the Hours at Work Survey.
- NEW "Industry Labor Productivity Trends from 2000 to 2010", by Michael R. Brill and Samuel T. Rowe, Spotlight on Statistics, March 2013.
- "Improved measures of commercial banking output and productivity," (PDF 769K) by Sara E. Royster, Monthly Labor Review, July 2012, pp. 3-17.
- Updated charts and data associated with the paper “The compensation-productivity gap: a visual essay,” by Susan Fleck, John Glaser, and Shawn Sprague.
- "The compensation-productivity gap: a visual essay,"(PDF 406K) by Susan Fleck, John Glaser and Shawn Sprague, Monthly Labor Review, January 2011, pp. 57-69.
- "Bringing work home: implications for BLS productivity measures," (PDF), by Lucy P. Eldridge and Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, Monthly Labor Review, December 2010, pp. 18-35.
- "Effects of imported intermediate inputs on productivity,"(PDF), by Lucy P. Eldridge and Michael J. Harper, Monthly Labor Review, June 2010, pp. 3-15.
- "Productivity trends in business cycles: a visual essay,"(PDF 221K) by Michael Chernousov, Susan E. Fleck, and John Glaser, Monthly Labor Review, June 2009, pp. 50-63.
- "Labor productivity since 2000, by sector and industry,"(PDF 669K) by Corey Holman, Bobbie Joyeux, and Christopher Kask, Monthly Labor Review, February 2008, pp. 64-82.
- "New Service Industry Productivity Measures," (PDF 31K) Report 993, February 2006.
- "Industry productivity trends under the North American Industry Classification system" (PDF 87K), by Matthew Russell, Paul Takac, and Lisa Usher, Monthly Labor Review, November 2004, pp.31-42.
- "New Service Industry Productivity Measures," (PDF 30K) Report 979, September 2004.
- "Alternative measures of supervisory employee hours and productivity growth" (PDF 273K), by Lucy P. Eldridge, Marilyn E. Manser, and Phyllis Flohr Otto, Monthly Labor Review, April 2004.
- "New Transportation and Service Productivity Measures", (PDF 38K) Report 964, January 2003.
- "Unit Labor Costs for Selected Industries, 1987-97," (PDF 86K) Report 939, November 1999.
- "BLS completes major expansion of industry productivity series, (PDF 300K) by John Duke and Lisa Usher, Monthly Labor Review, September 1998, pp. 35-51.
- "The BLS Productivity Measurement Program," (PDF 95K), by Edwin R. Dean and Michael J. Harper, Discussion Paper presented at the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth: New Directions in Productivity Research, March 20-21, 1998.
- "Improvements to the Quarterly Productivity Measures" (PDF 400K), by Edwin R. Dean, Michael J. Harper, and Phyllis Flohr Otto, Monthly Labor Review, October 1995.
- Archive of MLR Articles on Productivity and Technology.
Labor productivity and costs data for the nonfinancial corporate sector were corrected December 17, 2012. For more information, see http://www.bls.gov/lpc/lpc_nonfinancial_corporate_correction.htm.
- With the update of multifactor productivity measures for detailed industries on Sept. 26, 2012, measures of output, output per hour, output per worker, value of production, implicit price deflator, and unit labor costs for 2008-2010 were revised for NAICS 3346 and NAICS 334. The revisions supersede the data for these industries published on March 29, 2012 in the news release on Productivity and Costs by Industry: Manufacturing Industries, 2010. The revised measures are available from the online data query tool and in the industry labor productivity tables on this website.
Other BLS Programs
Other Useful Links
Nonfarm Business Sector:
Output per Hour
+0.7% in 1st Qtr of 2013
+1.2% in 1st Qtr of 2013
Unit Labor Costs
+0.5% in 1st Qtr of 2013
+2.5% in 1st Qtr of 2013
Hours of All Persons
+1.8% in 1st Qtr of 2013
Output per Hour
+3.8% in 1st Qtr of 2013
+3.3% in 1st Qtr of 2013
Unit Labor Costs
-0.5% in 1st Qtr of 2013
+5.6% in 1st Qtr of 2013
Hours of All Persons
+1.7% in 1st Qtr of 2013