Labor Productivity and Costs

Technical Information About the BLS Major Sector Productivity Measures (Abstract)

Indexes of labor productivity and related measures for broad economic sectors, including manufacturing, are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The traditional measure of labor productivity—output per hour—was first published in 1959, and represents the culmination of a long series of developments in productivity measurement in the Bureau. Output (real output), measured net of price change and inter-industry transactions, is compared to labor input, measured as hours at work in the corresponding sector. Quarterly and annual measures of output per hour, together with comparable measures of compensation per hour and unit labor costs, are maintained for business and nonfarm business from 1947 to the present. Similar measures are also available for manufacturing (total, durable, and nondurable sectors) back to 1987 and for nonfinancial corporations back to 1958. The measures are updated and revised eight times a year.

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.

For more information, please see "Technical Information About the BLS Major Sector Productivity Measures" (PDF 58 KB).

Last Modified Date: February 26, 2008

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