BLS Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: How are labor hours calculated for productivity measures?

Answer: The primary source of hours and employment data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Employment Statistics (CES) program, which provides data on total employment and average weekly hours of production and nonsupervisory workers in nonagricultural establishments.

For the quarterly productivity measures, information from the National Compensation Survey (NCS) is used to convert the CES hours to hours at work by excluding all forms of paid leave. Average weekly hours for nonproduction and supervisory workers are estimated by using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the NCS and the CES. Because CES data include only nonagricultural wage and salary workers, data from the CPS are used for farm employment as well as for nonfarm proprietors and unpaid family workers. Government enterprise hours are developed from the National Income and Product Account estimates of employment combined with CPS data on average weekly hours.

For the industry productivity measures, average weekly hours for nonproduction and supervisory workers are estimated using data from the CPS and the CES. The labor input measures for many of the nonmanufacturing industries also include estimates of the hours of proprietors and unpaid family workers from the CPS. Data on the relationship between hours worked and hours paid are not available at the detailed industry level to convert CES paid hours to hours at work.

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