Labor Productivity and Costs

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.

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LPC News Releases

Productivity and Costs

November 06, 2014
Productivity increased 2.0 percent in the nonfarm business sector in the third quarter of 2014; unit labor costs increased 0.3 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rates). In manufacturing, productivity increased 3.2 percent and unit labor costs decreased 0.7 percent. More...
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Productivity and Costs by Industry: Mining, Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places Industries, 2013

August 07, 2014
Labor productivity rose in mining, in wholesale trade and in retail trade but fell in food services and drinking places in 2013. Within these sectors, productivity increased in nearly three-fourths of the detailed industries studied. More...
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Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing and Mining Industries, 2012

May 21, 2014
Labor productivity rose in 48 percent of the detailed service-providing and mining industries studied in 2012, down from 60 percent of the industries in 2011. Output rose in more industries in 2012 than in any year since 2006, while hours rose in more industries than in any year since 2005. More...
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Productivity and Costs by Industry: Manufacturing Industries, 2012

March 27, 2014
Labor productivity rose in 54 percent of the 57 detailed manufacturing industries covered in 2012, down from 68 percent in 2011. Both output and hours increased in more industries in 2012 than in the previous year. More...
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LPC FAQs

  1. How is productivity defined?
  2. Why is productivity measurement important?
  3. How is productivity measured by BLS?
  4. What is the most commonly used productivity measure?
  5. What are "unit labor costs"?
  6. Does outsourcing and offshoring of intermediate production inflate the productivity measures?
  7. Why can't I find a productivity measure for the total economy?
  8. How are labor hours calculated?
  9. What is included in compensation?
  10. How are changes in output measured for specific industries?

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LPC Special Notices

Contact LPC

Major Sector Productivity and Cost Data (Quarterly and Annual)

News Release
Major Sector Productivity staff (202) 691-5606 Staff
Labor Productivity and Related Data
Analysis and methodology
John Glaser (202) 691-5607 Glaser.John@bls.gov
Data
Shawn Sprague (202) 691-5612 Sprague.Shawn@bls.gov
Employment and Hours
Nonfarm employees
Shawn Sprague (202) 691-5612 Sprague.Shawn@bls.gov
Other nonfarm and farm
John Glaser (202) 691-5607 Glaser.John@bls.gov
Hours-At-Work Ratios
Shawn Sprague (202) 691-5612 Sprague.Shawn@bls.gov

Industry Productivity and Cost Data (Annual)

Labor Productivity and Related Data
Industry Productivity Studies staff (202) 691-5618 Staff
Methodology
Mark Dumas (202) 691-5635 Dumas.Mark@bls.gov
Chris Kask (202) 691-5647 Kask.Chris@bls.gov
Chris Sparks (202) 691-5034 Sparks.Chris@bls.gov
Victor Torres (202) 691-5626 Torres.Victor@bls.gov

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