February 09, 2006
Unit labor costs in nonfarm business increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent (seasonally adjusted) in the fourth quarter of 2005, after falling 0.5 percent in the third quarter and 1.2 percent in the second quarter.
Unit labor costs—the cost of the labor input required to produce one unit of output—are computed by dividing labor costs in nominal terms by real output.
Unit labor costs can also be expressed as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity. The rise in unit labor costs in the fourth quarter reflected a 2.8-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 0.6-percent decrease in labor productivity.
These data are a product of the BLS Productivity and Costs program. Data are subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Productivity and Costs, Preliminary Fourth Quarter and Annual Averages for 2005," news release USDL 06-159.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Unit labor costs in fourth quarter of 2005 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2006/feb/wk1/art04.htm (visited May 25, 2013).
This edition of Spotlight on Statistics examines labor productivity trends from 2000 through 2010 for selected industries and sectors within the nonfarm business sector of the U.S. economy. Read more »