Labor productivity relates output to the labor hours used in the production of that output. Two BLS programs produce labor productivity and costs (LPC) measures for sectors of the U.S. economy.

The Major Sector Productivity program publishes quarterly and annual measures of output per hour and unit labor costs for the U.S. business, nonfarm business, and manufacturing sectors. These are the productivity statistics most often cited by the national media.

The Industry Productivity program publishes annual measures of output per hour and unit labor costs for U.S. industries.

LPC News Releases

Productivity and Costs

November 06, 2014
Productivity increased 2.0 percent in the nonfarm business sector in the third quarter of 2014; unit labor costs increased 0.3 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rates). In manufacturing, productivity increased 3.2 percent and unit labor costs decreased 0.7 percent. More...

Productivity and Costs by Industry: Mining, Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places Industries, 2013

August 07, 2014
Labor productivity rose in mining, in wholesale trade and in retail trade but fell in food services and drinking places in 2013. Within these sectors, productivity increased in nearly three-fourths of the detailed industries studied. More...

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

May 21, 2014
Labor productivity rose in 48 percent of the detailed service-providing and mining industries studied in 2012, down from 60 percent of the industries 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. More...

Productivity and Costs by Industry: Manufacturing Industries, 2012

March 27, 2014
Labor productivity rose in 54 percent of the 57 detailed manufacturing industries covered in 2012, down from 68 percent in 2011. Both output and hours increased in more industries in 2012 than in the previous year. More...



LPC Databases

Database Name Special
Tables Text Files
Major Sector Productivity and Costs
Top Picks One Screen Data Search Multi Screen Data Search Tables Text Files
Industry Productivity
  Top Picks One Screen Data Search Multi Screen Data Search Tables Text Files


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LPC Tables and Charts

LPC Technical Documentation

  • "Technical Information About the Major Sector Productivity and Costs Methods" (HTML) (PDF 58 KB) 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. February 2008.
  • "Industry Hours and Employment" (HTML), May 1, 2014.
  • Note on the Differences Between the /Quarterly Hourly Compensation Measures and the Employment Cost Index (ECI), January 2007.
  • Construction of Employment and Hours for Self-employed and other Nonfarm workers and for all Farm workers, using Current Population Survey data for primary and secondary jobs." (PDF), March 2006.
  • "Construction of Average Weekly Hours for Supervisory and Nonproduction Wage and Salary Workers in Detailed Industries" (PDF), August 2005.
  • "Construction of average weekly hours for supervisory and nonproduction wage and salary workers in private nonfarm establishments" (PDF), October 2004.
  • "Hours at work ratios derived from the Employment Cost Index, 2001-2003" (PDF), Brief description of the Bureau of Labor Statistics new ratios of hours at work to hours paid and reasons for the discontinuation of the Hours at Work Survey.

LPC Publications

  • NEW "What can labor productivity tell us about the U.S. economy?", by Shawn Sprague, Beyond the Numbers, May 2014.
  • "Industry Labor Productivity Trends from 2000 to 2010", by Michael R. Brill and Samuel T. Rowe, Spotlight on Statistics, March 2013.
  • "Improved measures of commercial banking output and productivity," (PDF 769K) by Sara E. Royster, Monthly Labor Review, July 2012, pp. 3-17.
  • Updated charts and data associated with the paper “The compensation-productivity gap: a visual essay,” by Susan Fleck, John Glaser, and Shawn Sprague.
  • "The compensation-productivity gap: a visual essay,"(PDF 406K) by Susan Fleck, John Glaser and Shawn Sprague, Monthly Labor Review, January 2011, pp. 57-69.
  • "Bringing work home: implications for BLS productivity measures," (PDF), by Lucy P. Eldridge and Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, Monthly Labor Review, December 2010, pp. 18-35.
  • "Effects of imported intermediate inputs on productivity,"(PDF), by Lucy P. Eldridge and Michael J. Harper, Monthly Labor Review, June 2010, pp. 3-15.
  • "Productivity trends in business cycles: a visual essay,"(PDF 221K) by Michael Chernousov, Susan E. Fleck, and John Glaser, Monthly Labor Review, June 2009, pp. 50-63.
  • "Labor productivity since 2000, by sector and industry,"(PDF 669K) by Corey Holman, Bobbie Joyeux, and Christopher Kask, Monthly Labor Review, February 2008, pp. 64-82.
  • "New Service Industry Productivity Measures," (PDF 31K) Report 993, February 2006.
  • "Industry productivity trends under the North American Industry Classification system" (PDF 87K), by Matthew Russell, Paul Takac, and Lisa Usher, Monthly Labor Review, November 2004, pp.31-42.
  • "New Service Industry Productivity Measures," (PDF 30K) Report 979, September 2004.
  • "Alternative measures of supervisory employee hours and productivity growth" (PDF 273K), by Lucy P. Eldridge, Marilyn E. Manser, and Phyllis Flohr Otto, Monthly Labor Review, April 2004.
  • "New Transportation and Service Productivity Measures", (PDF 38K) Report 964, January 2003.
  • "Unit Labor Costs for Selected Industries, 1987-97," (PDF 86K) Report 939, November 1999.
  • "BLS completes major expansion of industry productivity series, (PDF 300K) by John Duke and Lisa Usher, Monthly Labor Review, September 1998, pp. 35-51.
  • "The BLS Productivity Measurement Program," (PDF 95K), by Edwin R. Dean and Michael J. Harper, Discussion Paper presented at the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth: New Directions in Productivity Research, March 20-21, 1998.
  • "Improvements to the Quarterly Productivity Measures" (PDF 400K), by Edwin R. Dean, Michael J. Harper, and Phyllis Flohr Otto, Monthly Labor Review, October 1995.
  • Archive of MLR Articles on Productivity and Technology.


LPC Special Notices

Contact LPC

Major Sector Productivity and Cost Data (Quarterly and Annual)

News Release
  Major Sector Productivity staff (202) 691-5606 Staff
Labor Productivity and Related Data
  Analysis and methodology
    John Glaser (202) 691-5607
    Shawn Sprague (202) 691-5612
Employment and Hours
  Nonfarm employees
    Shawn Sprague (202) 691-5612
  Other nonfarm and farm
    John Glaser (202) 691-5607
  Hours-At-Work Ratios
    Shawn Sprague (202) 691-5612

Industry Productivity and Cost Data (Annual)

Labor Productivity and Related Data
  Industry Productivity Studies staff (202) 691-5618 Staff
  Mark Dumas (202) 691-5635
  Chris Kask (202) 691-5647
  Chris Sparks (202) 691-5034
  Victor Torres (202) 691-5626

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