Important Information Regarding Industry Labor Productivity and Cost Measures
The industry labor productivity indexes show changes over time in the
relationship between the output of an industry and the labor hours expended
on that output. Measures of output per hour (labor productivity) are useful
for studying changes in labor utilization, projecting future employment
requirements, analyzing trends in labor costs, examining the effects of
technological improvements on employment and unemployment, analyzing related
economic and industrial activities, and comparing productivity progress
among countries. Although the labor productivity measures relate output to
one input—labor time—they do not measure the specific contribution of
labor, capital, or any other factor of production. Rather, they reflect the
joint effect of a number of interrelated influences such as changes in
technology, capital investment per worker, utilization of capacity, layout
and flow of material, skill and effort of the work force, managerial skill,
and labor-management relations.
The data presented in the Industry Labor Productivity and
Costs Data Tables are from a database of industry labor productivity and related
data produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.
Measures for most industries in the database start in 1987. All indexes are updated
annually and continue through the most recent year for which data are available.
Data are available for U.S. industries as defined in the North American Industry
Classification System (NAICS). Industry productivity and costs data also are available
on a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) basis, but these data series are no longer updated.
Labor productivity and related measures are available on this web site
for detailed NAICS industries, with extensive coverage in mining, utilities, manufacturing, wholesale trade,
retail trade, and accommodation and food services. Measures also are provided for selected industries in
transportation and warehousing, information, finance and
insurance, real estate and rental and leasing, professional and technical
services, administrative and support services, health care and social
services, and other services. Also included are productivity and
related series for the mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, and accomodation and food services sectors as
Industry indexes are available for output per hour (labor productivity),
output per person, output, the implicit price deflator for output, hours, employment, unit labor costs and labor
compensation. These indexes are presented with a base year of 2002=100. Data on the
number of employees, annual hours, nominal value of production and labor compensation are also available.
The labor productivity measures are computed by dividing an index of
output by an index of hours. A Tornqvist index of output is developed for
each industry by computing a weighted average of the growth rates of the
various industry products between two periods, with weights based on the
products' shares in industry value of production. The weight for each
product equals its average value share in the two periods. Therefore, the
weights are allowed to change through time rather than being fixed. For a
more complete discussion of the Tornqvist methodology
Productivity Measures," Chapter 11 of the BLS Handbook of Methods. An index of hours is computed for
an industry by dividing a measure of total labor hours in the industry in each year
by the hours for the base year. Hours are calculated for each industry by multiplying
annual employment by average weekly hours by 52 weeks for each category of worker.
Hours for different categories of workers are then summed. Measures of unit
labor costs and total labor compensation are also available.
Industry unit labor cost indexes are calculated as the ratio of
labor compensation to real output. The labor compensation measures are based
on data of gross payroll plus supplemental benefits.
Last Modified Date: March 29, 2012