Economic News Release

Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing and Mining Industries, 2012

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, May 21, 2014	                             USDL-14-0872

Technical Information: 	(202) 691-5618  •  • 
Media Contact:		(202) 691-5902  •

                                  PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS BY INDUSTRY:

Labor productivity -- defined as output per hour -- rose in 48 percent of the 58 service-providing and 
mining industries studied in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was down 
from 60 percent in 2011. Unit labor costs, which reflect the total labor costs required to produce a unit 
of output, declined in 17 percent of the industries in 2012, compared to 31 percent 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. (See table 1.) Output increased in 39 of the 58 service-providing and mining 
industries studied, while hours rose in 34 industries. The percentage of industries where output increased 
but hours rose more than output was the highest since the series began in 1987.

Labor compensation rose in 84 percent of the industries studied. Unit labor costs fell in 8 of 53 service-
providing industries in 2012, down from 17 industries in 2011, and in 2 of the 5 mining industries. The 
industries with declines in unit labor costs all posted increases in productivity, which offset movements 
in hourly compensation. 

The latest productivity measures for industries presented here and for those in other sectors are available 
on the BLS Labor Productivity and Costs website at

*                                   Industry Productivity Hours Series Changes                        *
*                                                                                                     *
* Beginning with this news release, labor hours for service-providing and mining industries represent * 
* hours worked. See Technical Note for more information about how hours worked are derived.           *

Service-Providing Industries: Output per hour increased in 2012 in 26 of the 53 industries studied. In 
most of these industries, productivity rose as output growth was accompanied by declines or more 
modest increases in hours. Three industries posted double-digit productivity gains as a result: radio 
broadcasting; wireless telecommunications carriers; and photofinishing. 

In a few industries, productivity rose despite declining output, as hours were reduced even more than 
output: natural gas distribution; newspaper publishers; video tape and disc rental; photography studios, 
portrait; and funeral homes and funeral services. 

Productivity and cost measures are published in this release for the first time for four industries: water, 
sewage and other systems (NAICS 2213); offices of certified public accountants (NAICS 541211); golf 
courses and country clubs (NAICS 71391); and fitness and recreational sports centers (NAICS 71394). 
Productivity rose in 2012 in offices of certified public accountants and in golf courses and country clubs, 
but fell in water, sewage and other systems and in fitness and recreational sports centers.

Mining Industries: Productivity rose in the overall mining sector in 2012, as output increased slightly 
more than hours. Output per hour also increased in two of the five detailed mining industries studied. 
Productivity rose sharply in support activities for mining, and also increased in nonmetallic mineral 
mining and quarrying. In both industries the gains in productivity offset increases in hourly 
compensation, reducing unit labor costs. 

Largest Industries: Among the 20 largest service-providing and mining industries studied, output rose 
in all eight of the industries with productivity increases, led by support activites for mining, where 
strong output growth outpaced the increase in hours. Productivity fell the most in janitorial services, 
where modest output growth was met with a greater increase in hours. Unit labor costs increased in all 
except two of the industries: support activities for mining and wired telecommunications carriers. 

Long-Term Trends: More industries posted productivity growth over the longer term than in 2012. 
Between 1987 and 2012 labor productivity increased in 79 percent of the detailed service-providing and 
mining industries studied, while between 2007 and 2012 it increased in 60 percent of the industries. In 
contrast, in 2012 productivity rose in less than half of the industries and productivity performance was 
more widely distributed: 26 percent of industries posted productivity declines of 4.0 percent or greater, 
while 24 percent posted productivity gains of 4.1 percent or more.

Revisions: The measures in this news release incorporate data from the 2012 Service Annual Survey 
published by the Census Bureau. The hours measures incorporate the annual benchmark revision of the 
BLS Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey published in February 2014. For the first time, labor 
hours in this news release represent hours at work. Data on hours paid from the CES were adjusted using 
industry hours-worked to hours-paid ratios derived from National Compensation Survey (NCS) data. All 
of the measures for 2012 in this release are preliminary and subject to revision. 

Other: While the rates of change reported 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. The industries 
included in this release are classified according to the 2007 NAICS.

More detailed data for industries covered in this release and for additional industries are available on the 
BLS Labor Productivity and Costs website at Data include productivity and related 
indexes; rates of change; and levels of industry employment, hours, nominal value of production, and
labor compensation. Additional information can be obtained by calling the Division of Industry 
Productivity Studies (202-691-5618) or by sending a request by e-mail to  
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. 

Customers can subscribe to the industry productivity program’s news releases on the BLS website at 

The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: May 21, 2014
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