Economic News Release

Productivity and Costs: Selected Service-Providing and Mining Industries News Release


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, May 31, 2012		USDL-12-1069

Technical Information: 	(202) 691-5618  •  dipsweb@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/lpc 
Media Contact:		(202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov



                           PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS BY INDUSTRY:
                  SELECTED SERVICE-PROVIDING AND MINING INDUSTRIES, 2010

Labor productivity – defined as output per hour – rose in 69 percent of the 52 service-providing and 
mining industries studied in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was up from 
42 percent in 2009. Unit labor costs, which reflect the total labor costs required to produce a unit of 
output, declined in 46 percent of the industries in 2010, compared to 35 percent in 2009.

Productivity increased in more industries in 2010 than in any year since 2003, while output rose in more 
industries than in any year since 2007. The number of industries with increases in output and the number 
of industries with increases in hours both rose in 2010 after declining in 2007, 2008, and 2009. However, 
declining hours continued to contribute to productivity gains for many industries. Of the industries with 
productivity increases in 2010, 72 percent registered output increases, while 86 percent posted declines 
in labor hours. (See table 1.)

Unit labor costs fell in 23 of 47 service-providing industries, the most since 2003, but in only 1 of the 5 
mining industries in 2010.  

Industry labor productivity measures are updated as data become available. Productivity measures for 
industries in other sectors can be accessed on the BLS Labor Productivity and Costs web site at 
www.bls.gov/lpc.

Service-Providing Industries

Output per hour increased in 32 of the 47 industries studied.  In most of these industries, productivity 
rose as output growth was accompanied by declines or more modest increases in hours.  Several 
industries posted double-digit productivity gains as a result: local as well as long-distance general freight 
trucking; refrigerated warehousing and storage; radio and television broadcasting; wireless 
telecommunications carriers; and travel agencies.

In a few industries, productivity rose despite falling output.  In industries such as postal service; couriers 
and messengers; video tape and disc rental; photofinishing; and newspaper, book, and directory 
publishers, rising labor productivity reflected declines in both labor hours and output, with hours falling 
more rapidly than output.

Mining Industries

Output per hour rose in four of the five detailed mining industries studied; only coal mining posted a 
productivity decline.  Productivity was particularly strong in the support activities for mining industry, 
where strong growth in output exceeded a large increase in labor hours. However, because support 
activities for mining are completely consumed by other mining industries, they are not included in the 
final output leaving the sector. After excluding support activities for mining, overall productivity for the 
mining sector declined slightly, as output grew more slowly than hours.

Long-Term Trends

Industry productivity performance over the long term contrasts with the performance in 2010. Between 
1987 and 2010, labor productivity increased in 87 percent of the detailed service-providing and mining 
industries, with over 70 percent of industries recording average productivity growth between 0.1 and 4.0 
percent per year. In 2010, large productivity gains were more common than over the longer term; 35 
percent of industries posted productivity gains of 6.1 percent or more, the most since 1998. 

New Industries and Improvements

With this release, productivity and cost measures are presented for the first time for two industries: 
travel arrangement and reservation services (NAICS 5615) and personal care services (NAICS 8121). 
Output per hour in the travel arrangement and reservation services industry rose at a rapid rate of 8.3 
percent per year on average between 1997 and 2010, and increased 11.8 percent in 2010.  Output per 
hour in the personal care services industry increased 1.8 percent per year on average between 1987 and 
2010, but declined 2.2 percent in 2010.

Also included in this release for the first time are improved productivity and cost measures for the 
commercial banking industry.  The revised measures reflect a more comprehensive definition of banking 
output that covers a broader range of bank services – including loan securitization, investment banking, 
insurance provision, and other fee-based services – as well as improved weights for combining detailed 
banking services.  Labor productivity in commercial banking grew at an average rate of 3.9 percent per 
year between 1987 and 2010, but declined 3.1 percent in 2010.   A fuller discussion of the changes will 
be provided in a forthcoming article in the Monthly Labor Review (MLR).  


                                             Technical Note

Labor Productivity: The industry labor productivity measures describe the relationship between 
industry output and the labor time involved in its production. They show the changes from period to 
period in the amount of goods and services produced per hour. Although the labor productivity measures 
relate output to hours of all persons in an industry, they do not measure the specific contribution of labor 
or any other factor of production. Rather, they reflect the joint effects of many influences, including 
changes in technology; capital investment; utilization of capacity, energy, and materials; the use of 
purchased services inputs, including contract employment services; the organization of production; 
managerial skill; and the characteristics and effort of the workforce.

Output: Industry output is measured as an annual-weighted index of the changes in the various products 
(in real terms) provided for sale outside the industry. Real industry output is usually derived by deflating 
nominal sales or values of production using BLS price indexes, but for some industries it is measured by 
physical quantities of output. 

Industry output measures are constructed primarily using data from the economic censuses and annual 
surveys of the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, together with information on price 
changes primarily from BLS. Output measures for some mining and utilities industries are based on 
physical quantity data from the Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, while 
output measures for some transportation industries are based on physical quantity data from the Bureau 
of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of Transportation. Other data sources for some industries 
include the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior; the U.S. Postal Service; the Postal 
Rate Commission; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Labor Hours: The primary source of industry employment and hours data is the BLS Current 
Employment Statistics (CES) survey. The CES provides monthly data on the number of total and 
nonsupervisory worker jobs held by wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments, as well as data 
on the average weekly hours of nonsupervisory workers in those establishments. CES data are 
supplemented with data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) to estimate employment and hours 
of self-employed and unpaid family workers in each industry.  Data from the CPS, together with CES 
data, are also used to estimate the historical average weekly hours of supervisory workers for each 
industry. CES and CPS data are supplemented or further disaggregated for some industries using data 
from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), the Census Bureau, or other 
sources. Other sources of employment and hours data for some service industries include the Association 
of American Railroads, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Postal Service. Hours of all 
persons in an industry are treated as homogeneous and are directly aggregated.  

Unit Labor Costs: Unit labor costs represent the cost of labor required to produce one unit of output.  
The unit labor cost indexes are computed by dividing an index of industry labor compensation by an 
index of real industry output. Unit labor costs also describe the relationship between compensation per 
hour and real output per hour (labor productivity). Increases in hourly compensation increase unit labor 
costs; increases in labor productivity offset compensation increases and lower unit labor costs. 
      
Compensation, defined as payroll plus supplemental payments, is a measure of the cost to the employer 
of securing the services of labor. Payroll includes salaries, wages, commissions, dismissal pay, bonuses, 
vacation and sick leave pay, and compensation in kind. Supplemental payments include legally required 
expenditures and payments for voluntary programs. The legally required portion consists primarily of 
Federal old age and survivors’ insurance, unemployment compensation, and workers’ compensation. 
Payments for voluntary programs include all programs not specifically required by legislation, such as the 
employer portion of private health insurance and pension plans.

Revisions: The measures in this news release incorporate data from the 2010 Service Annual Survey 
published by the Census Bureau. The labor productivity and output series for all industries have been 
revised for 2009 and earlier years as a result. This news release also incorporates the annual benchmark 
revision of the BLS Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey published in February 2012. All of the 
measures for 2010 in this release are preliminary and subject to revision.

Additional Information: The industries included in this release are classified according to the 2007 
NAICS. While the rates of change reported by BLS in this news release are rounded to one decimal 
place, all industry productivity percent changes are calculated using index numbers rounded to three 
decimal places.

Year-to-year movements in industry productivity may be erratic, particularly in smaller industries. The 
annual measures based on sample data may differ from measures generated by a census of 
establishments in the industry. Annual changes in an industry’s output and use of labor may reflect 
cyclical changes in the economy as well as long-term trends. As a result, long-term productivity trends 
tend to be more reliable indicators of industry performance than year-to-year changes.

Industry productivity and related indexes; rates of change; and levels of industry employment, hours, 
nominal value of production and labor compensation can be accessed online by visiting the Labor 
Productivity and Costs web site at www.bls.gov/lpc. Additional information is available by calling the 
Division of Industry Productivity Studies (202-691-5618) or by sending an e-mail to dipsweb@bls.gov. 
Information in this report will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. Voice 
phone: 202-691-5618; TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.

To subscribe to the industry productivity program’s news releases, customers can register on the BLS 
website at https://subscriptions.bls.gov/accounts/USDOLBLS/subscriber/new. 

Table 1. Percent change in output per hour, unit labor costs, and related data, 2009-2010
Industry NAICS code 2010
Employment
(thousands)
Percent change, 2009-2010
Output per hour Output Hours Labor compensation Unit labor costs

Mining Industries

Mining

21

676.9 -2.0 2.5 4.6 8.4 5.8

Oil and gas extraction

211

163.1 8.7 2.8 -5.5 8.2 5.3

Oil and gas extraction

2111

163.1 8.7 2.8 -5.5 8.2 5.3

Mining, except oil and gas

212

208.3 1.2 1.7 0.5 4.9 3.1

Coal mining

2121

81.0 -1.2 -1.3 -0.2 4.0 5.4

Metal ore mining

2122

37.0 3.4 10.0 6.4 13.6 3.3

Nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying

2123

90.3 0.1 -0.8 -0.9 1.0 1.9

Support activities for mining

213

305.5 12.7 27.3 12.9 11.1 -12.7

Support activities for mining

2131

305.5 12.7 27.3 12.9 11.1 -12.7

Utilities

Power generation and supply

2211

398.0 3.3 1.5 -1.8 0.7 -0.8

Natural gas distribution

2212

107.9 5.7 2.9 -2.7 -0.3 -3.1

Transportation and Warehousing

Air transportation

481

390.6 6.6 4.4 -2.1 3.5 -0.9

Line-haul railroads

482111

172.0 8.1 12.8 4.4 6.0 -6.1

Truck transportation

484

1,444.0 8.8 6.5 -2.1 -0.3 -6.3

General freight trucking

4841

1,043.6 11.0 7.9 -2.8 -1.9 -9.1

General freight trucking, local

48411

270.6 14.3 8.5 -5.1 0.3 -7.6

General freight trucking, long-distance

48412

772.9 10.1 7.8 -2.1 -2.4 -9.5

Used household and office goods moving

48421

84.8 -3.6 -1.2 2.5 -1.0 0.2

Postal service

491

658.5 1.5 -5.7 -7.1 6.6 13.1

Postal service

4911

658.5 1.5 -5.7 -7.1 6.6 13.1

Couriers and messengers

492

562.0 1.8 -5.5 -7.2 12.4 18.9

Warehousing and storage

493

642.3 8.7 9.5 0.7 1.7 -7.1

Warehousing and storage

4931

642.3 8.7 9.5 0.7 1.7 -7.1

General warehousing and storage

49311

539.9 7.9 9.4 1.3 1.6 -7.1

Refrigerated warehousing and storage

49312

48.0 21.9 15.2 -5.5 1.3 -12.1

Information

Publishing

511

788.7 7.2 1.6 -5.2 1.6 0.0

Newspaper, book, and directory publishers

5111

527.8 3.8 -5.2 -8.7 -6.4 -1.3

Software publishers

5112

260.9 5.9 7.9 1.9 10.2 2.1

Motion picture and video exhibition

51213

131.0 0.3 -0.2 -0.5 -0.2 0.0

Broadcasting, except internet

515

298.0 12.0 4.4 -6.7 0.1 -4.1

Radio and television broadcasting

5151

216.0 15.0 6.6 -7.2 -1.7 -7.8

Cable and other subscription programming

5152

82.0 8.5 2.4 -5.6 4.5 2.0

Wired telecommunications carriers

5171

611.0 4.6 0.9 -3.5 -2.0 -2.9

Wireless telecommunications carriers

5172

175.3 16.0 10.1 -5.0 -5.1 -13.8

Finance and Insurance

Commercial banking

52211

1,305.9 -3.1 -4.0 -0.8 3.6 7.9

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

Passenger car rental

532111

100.5 8.5 4.4 -3.8 6.6 2.1

Truck, trailer and RV rental and leasing

53212

54.7 -0.3 -2.9 -2.6 -2.7 0.2

Video tape and disc rental

53223

67.1 24.5 -11.2 -28.7 -22.7 -13.0

Professional and Technical Services

Tax preparation services

541213

145.3 3.4 -1.9 -5.1 -1.5 0.3

Architectural services

54131

176.8 -4.1 -10.9 -7.1 -7.8 3.4

Engineering services

54133

901.7 -2.3 -3.3 -1.0 1.7 5.1

Advertising agencies

54181

183.3 9.4 8.2 -1.1 2.8 -5.0

Photography studios, portrait

541921

67.8 12.5 -2.0 -12.9 -6.4 -4.5

Administrative and Waste Services

Employment placement agencies

561311

229.7 -3.3 2.7 6.2 7.9 5.1

Travel arrangement and reservation services

5615

200.7 11.8 7.5 -3.9 2.9 -4.3

Travel agencies

56151

92.8 13.7 10.8 -2.5 2.0 -8.0

Janitorial services

56172

1,223.6 2.6 2.2 -0.4 4.1 1.8

Health Care and Social Assistance

Medical and diagnostic laboratories

6215

237.4 -4.3 1.0 5.6 5.6 4.5

Medical laboratories

621511

162.9 -5.2 3.6 9.3 8.5 4.7

Diagnostic imaging centers

621512

74.5 -0.4 -2.8 -2.4 0.2 3.2

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Amusement and theme parks

71311

141.4 -2.0 0.3 2.3 6.0 5.7

Bowling centers

71395

68.7 2.5 -1.7 -4.1 -2.6 -0.9

Accommodation and Food Services

Accommodation and food services

72

11,379.2 2.2 1.7 -0.5 2.9 1.2

Accommodation

721

1,789.3 2.1 1.4 -0.7 2.7 1.3

Traveler accommodation

7211

1,715.5 2.1 1.4 -0.7 2.8 1.4

Food services and drinking places

722

9,589.9 2.3 1.8 -0.5 3.0 1.2

Full-service restaurants

7221

4,516.4 1.3 0.8 -0.5 3.5 2.7

Limited-service eating places

7222

4,049.6 4.3 3.1 -1.1 2.5 -0.6

Special food services

7223

664.1 -0.7 1.3 2.0 1.7 0.4

Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)

7224

359.8 -2.0 -0.9 1.1 4.1 5.1

Other Services

Automotive repair and maintenance

8111

1,058.7 2.3 1.0 -1.3 0.2 -0.8

Reupholstery and furniture repair

81142

20.8 -4.8 -4.9 -0.1 -1.5 3.5

Personal care services

8121

1,158.2 -2.2 1.3 3.7 1.6 0.3

Hair, nail and skin care services

81211

966.5 -1.0 1.9 2.9 0.9 -0.9

Funeral homes and funeral services

81221

103.3 2.0 0.7 -1.2 0.7 0.0

Drycleaning and laundry services

8123

331.0 3.0 0.7 -2.3 -1.7 -2.4

Coin-operated laundries and drycleaners

81231

45.0 -0.2 3.9 4.1 -1.8 -5.5

Drycleaning and laundry services

81232

162.0 -0.3 -3.5 -3.3 -3.3 0.3

Linen and uniform supply

81233

124.0 6.1 2.8 -3.1 -0.6 -3.3

Photofinishing

81292

15.0 22.3 -1.0 -19.0 -6.2 -5.3