Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing Industries News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, May 18, 2016                                         USDL-16-0988

Technical information: 	(202) 691-5618  •  productivity@bls.gov  • www.bls.gov/lpc 
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov

                                    PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS BY INDUSTRY:
                                 SELECTED SERVICE-PROVIDING INDUSTRIES, 2015

Labor productivity rose in 15 of 28 selected service-providing industries in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of 
Labor Statistics reported today. This was fewer than in 2014, when labor productivity increased in 20 of 28 
industries. In 2015 output increased in fewer industries than in 2014, while hours worked increased in 
more industries than in 2014.  

Unit labor costs declined in 10 industries in 2015. Each of the industries with declines in unit labor costs 
also recorded increases in productivity. Increases in labor productivity counter the impact of rising hourly 
compensation on unit labor costs facing employers.

Productivity and cost measures are published in this release for the first time for amusement parks and 
arcades, and for specialized freight trucking.

Trends in Labor Productivity in 2015

*	Labor productivity increased in 15 of 28 industries in 2015. Among those 
        with increasing productivity, output grew in all but two. Hours worked declined in 9 of the 
        28 industries.
*	Productivity gains of at least 8.0 percent occurred in two industries where output increases 
        coincided with declines in hours worked: wireless telecommunications carriers (26.5 
        percent) and amusement parks and arcades (8.0 percent).
*	Four industries recorded output gains of at least 3.0 percent but had productivity declines 
        because of larger increases in hours worked: truck, trailer, and RV rental and leasing (-5.6 
        percent), warehousing and storage (-4.4 percent), software publishers (-4.2 percent), and air 
        transportation (-0.3 percent).

Trends in Unit Labor Costs in 2015

*	Unit labor costs fell in 10 industries in 2015.
*	All unit labor cost declines occurred in industries where productivity rose. 
*	Conversely, each of the industries where productivity fell also recorded an increase in 
        unit labor costs. 
*	Hourly labor compensation rose in 19 of the 28 industries measured. 

Long Term Productivity Trends 

*	Productivity rose in 44 service-providing industries for the period 1987 to 2014. Median 
        productivity growth for all 57 industries was approximately 1.7 percent per year.
*	Output increased during this period in 43 industries, while hours worked increased in 34 
        industries. 
*	Productivity also increased in 37 of the 57 industries measured between 2007 and 2014, even 
        though the period saw a severe recession. However, only 28 industries had increases in output 
        and 17 experienced growth in hours worked.
*	Other specialized trucking, long-distance, and other specialized trucking, local, are published 
        for the first time in this release for 2002-2014. The first industry reported an increase in 
        productivity in 2014, while the latter had a productivity decline.      
 
 ***************************************************************************************************************
 *                                            Want to know more?                                               *
 *                                                                                                             *
 * Find data at www.bls.gov/lpc for:                                                                           *
 *                                                                                                             *
 *   -Additional industries and sectors                                                                        *
 *   -Detailed data series: indexes of productivity and related measures; rates of change; and levels          *
 *    of industry employment, hours worked, nominal value of production, and labor compensation	               *
 *   -Additional years and long-term data                                                                      *
 *                                                                                                             *
 * Questions?                                                                                                  *
 *                                                                                                             *                                                                                                         
 *   Additional information can be obtained by calling the BLS productivity program at (202) 691-5618 	       *
 *   or by sending an email to productivity@bls.gov. Information in this report will be made available         *
 *   to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. TDD message referral phone number: 1-800-877-               *
 *   8339.	                                                                                               *
 *                                                                                      		       *
 *                                                                                                             *
 * Subscribe to news releases                                                                                  *
 *                                                                                                             *
 *   Subscribe to productivity news releases on the BLS website at       	                               *
 *   https://subscriptions.bls.gov/accounts/USDOLBLS/subscriber/new.                                           *
 ***************************************************************************************************************

Technical Note

Labor Productivity:  Labor productivity describes the relationship between real output and the 
labor hours involved in its production. These measures show the changes from period to period in 
the amount of goods and services produced per hour worked. Although the labor productivity 
measures relate output in an industry to hours worked of all persons in that industry, they do not 
measure the specific contribution of labor to growth in output. 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; the characteristics and effort of the workforce; and 
managerial skill.

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 nominal 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 reduce unit labor costs.

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 from BLS. Other data sources include:  the Energy Information 
Administration, U.S. Department of Energy; the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. 
Department of Transportation; 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. 
Industrial production data from the Quarterly Service Survey from the Census Bureau are used to 
construct preliminary output measures for 2015 for some industries.

Labor Hours:  Labor hours are measured as annual hours worked by all employed persons in an 
industry. Data on industry employment and hours come primarily from the BLS Current 
Employment Statistics (CES) survey and Current Population Survey (CPS). CES data on the 
number of total and production worker jobs held by wage and salary workers in nonfarm 
establishments are supplemented with CPS self-employed and unpaid family worker data to 
estimate industry employment. Hours worked estimates are derived using CES and CPS 
employment, CES data on the average weekly hours paid of production workers, CPS data on 
hours of nonproduction, self-employed, and unpaid family workers, and ratios of hours worked to 
hours paid based on data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS). For some industries, 
employment and hours data are supplemented or further disaggregated using data from the BLS 
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), the Census Bureau, or other sources. 
Additional sources of employment and hours data for certain service industries include the 
Association of American Railroads, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Postal 
Service. Hours worked are estimated separately for different types of workers and then are directly 
aggregated; no adjustments for labor composition are made.

Labor Compensation:  Labor 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 both 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. Industry compensation measures 
are constructed primarily using data from the economic censuses and annual surveys of the Census 
Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. The estimates for 2015 are constructed using data from 
the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).



Table 1. Recent labor productivity, unit labor costs, and related data
Industry 2012 NAICS code 2015 Employment (thousands) Percent change, 2014-2015
Labor productivity Unit labor costs Output Hours worked Labor compensation

Utilities

Utilities

22 558.7 -2.5 4.5 -0.8 1.8 3.6

Utilities

221 558.7 -2.5 4.5 -0.8 1.8 3.6

Power generation and supply

2211 394.6 -1.7 4.2 -0.7 1.0 3.4

Natural gas distribution

2212 114.1 -4.4 5.4 -0.9 3.6 4.4

Water, sewage and other systems

2213 50.0 -7.6 6.5 -3.7 4.2 2.5

Transportation and Warehousing

Air transportation

481 434.6 -0.3 6.4 4.5 4.8 11.2

Line-haul railroads

482111 189.8 2.2 -0.7 0.0 -2.1 -0.7

Truck transportation

484 1672.0 -1.0 4.7 0.7 1.7 5.5

General freight trucking

4841 1194.2 0.2 3.6 2.4 2.2 6.1

General freight trucking, local

48411 313.1 -4.0 7.3 -1.4 2.7 5.8

General freight trucking, long-distance

48412 881.1 1.1 2.9 3.2 2.0 6.2

Specialized freight trucking

4842 477.8 -3.0 6.8 -2.5 0.5 4.1

Postal service

491 596.8 0.1 0.4 1.3 1.2 1.7

Postal service

4911 596.8 0.1 0.4 1.3 1.2 1.7

Couriers and messengers

492 636.9 -6.1 5.9 -1.0 5.5 4.8

Warehousing and storage

493 821.2 -4.4 6.8 3.0 7.8 10.0

Warehousing and storage

4931 821.2 -4.4 6.8 3.0 7.8 10.0

Information

Publishing

511 769.8 -3.5 3.5 0.2 3.9 3.7

Newspaper publishers

51111 201.9 1.1 -0.2 -4.6 -5.6 -4.8

Periodical publishers

51112 114.1 -10.7 3.4 -5.2 6.1 -2.0

Software publishers

5112 334.3 -4.2 4.1 3.3 7.8 7.5

Broadcasting, except Internet

515 292.2 3.9 -4.5 3.7 -0.3 -1.0

Radio and television broadcasting

5151 227.5 5.2 -5.3 5.0 -0.2 -0.6

Cable and other subscription programming

5152 64.7 4.6 -6.2 4.3 -0.3 -2.2

Wired telecommunications carriers

5171 595.7 3.4 -2.2 0.4 -2.9 -1.8

Wireless telecommunications carriers

5172 131.5 26.5 -22.7 11.3 -12.0 -13.9

Finance and Insurance

Commercial banking

52211 1272.3 4.7 -0.3 2.2 -2.4 1.9

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

Truck, trailer, and RV rental and leasing

53212 72.1 -5.6 5.8 6.1 12.5 12.3

Professional and Technical Services

Accounting and bookkeeping services

5412 1140.0 1.7 1.8 5.2 3.5 7.2

Accounting and bookkeeping services

54121 1140.0 1.7 1.8 5.2 3.5 7.2

Engineering services

54133 969.9 -7.3 10.1 -5.9 1.5 3.6

Administrative and Waste Services

Travel arrangement and reservation services

5615 222.1 -3.7 9.3 0.3 4.2 9.6

Health Care and Social Assistance

Medical and diagnostic laboratories

6215 268.4 2.2 -0.5 6.8 4.5 6.2

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Amusement parks and arcades

7131 203.0 8.0 3.0 3.9 -3.8 6.9

Gambling industries

7132 137.6 4.6 -5.2 7.4 2.7 1.9

Other Services

Automotive repair and maintenance

8111 1130.5 5.3 0.0 6.2 0.8 6.2

Drycleaning and laundry services

8123 310.3 3.8 -2.1 3.3 -0.4 1.2

Table 2. Long run labor productivity, unit labor costs, and related data
Industry 2012 NAICS code 2014 Employment (thousands) Average annual percent change, 1987-2014
Labor productivity Unit labor costs Output Hours worked Labor compensation

Utilities

Utilities

22 551.5 2.4 1.4 1.5 -0.8 2.9

Utilities

221 551.5 2.4 1.4 1.5 -0.8 2.9

Power generation and supply

2211 391.4 3.3 0.5 2.2 -1.0 2.7

Natural gas distribution

2212 111.9 0.8 3.7 -0.3 -1.1 3.4

Water, sewage and other systems

2213 48.2 -1.7 4.8 0.8 2.6 5.7

Transportation and Warehousing

Air transportation

481 422.8 3.2 0.4 2.6 -0.6 3.0

Line-haul railroads

482111 187.4 3.7 -0.4 2.1 -1.5 1.7

Truck transportation(1)

484 1632.3 0.6 0.8 2.0 1.5 2.9

General freight trucking(1)

4841 1163.2 1.1 0.9 2.4 1.2 3.3

General freight trucking, local(1)

48411 303.2 2.6 0.1 3.7 1.1 3.8

General freight trucking, long-distance

48412 860 1.2 0.3 2.3 1.0 2.6

Specialized freight trucking(2)

4842 469.1 0.7 1.8 2.2 1.5 4.1

Used household and office goods moving

48421 97 -1.0 2.6 -0.3 0.6 2.2

Other specialized trucking, local(2)

48422 236.8 -0.1 2.6 2.1 2.2 4.7

Other specialized trucking, long-distance(2)

48423 135 1.8 0.8 4.0 2.1 4.9

Postal service

491 593 0.6 3.2 -0.6 -1.3 2.5

Postal service

4911 593 0.6 3.2 -0.6 -1.3 2.5

Couriers and messengers

492 606.3 -1.9 3.5 0.3 2.2 3.8

Warehousing and storage(1)

493 752.7 2.6 -0.5 5.9 3.2 5.4

Warehousing and storage(1)

4931 752.7 2.6 -0.5 5.9 3.2 5.4

General warehousing and storage(1)

49311 646.8 3.9 -1.4 7.4 3.3 5.9

Refrigerated warehousing and storage(1)

49312 52 0.0 1.4 2.8 2.8 4.3

Information

Publishing

511 753.5 4.0 1.3 3.5 -0.5 4.8

Newspaper, book, and directory publishers

5111 438 -0.2 4.3 -2.5 -2.3 1.7

Newspaper publishers

51111 211.3 -1.2 4.4 -4.2 -3.0 0.0

Periodical publishers

51112 111.3 -0.4 4.9 -1.5 -1.1 3.4

Book publishers

51113 69.1 0.0 4.8 -0.8 -0.8 3.9

Software publishers

5112 315.5 12.3 -6.4 18.8 5.8 11.1

Motion picture and video exhibition

51213 132 1.7 1.9 1.6 -0.2 3.5

Broadcasting, except Internet

515 287.8 2.8 1.8 2.9 0.1 4.7

Radio and television broadcasting

5151 224 1.8 2.1 1.5 -0.3 3.7

Radio broadcasting

51511 92.1 3.4 1.8 2.4 -0.9 4.2

Cable and other subscription programming

5152 63.8 4.9 2.6 7.0 2.0 9.7

Wired telecommunications carriers

5171 608 3.6 -1.1 2.8 -0.8 1.6

Wireless telecommunications carriers

5172 149.6 11.2 -6.3 19.4 7.4 11.9

Finance and Insurance

Commercial banking

52211 1292.8 3.3 2.0 3.2 -0.1 5.2

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

Passenger car rental

532111 114.7 1.7 2.3 2.4 0.7 4.8

Truck, trailer, and RV rental and leasing

53212 65.6 2.5 0.9 2.4 -0.1 3.3

Video tape and disc rental

53223 17.5 6.4 -2.0 -0.8 -6.7 -2.8

Professional and Technical Services

Accounting and bookkeeping services(3)

5412 1098.9 2.6 1.0 3.2 0.6 4.2

Accounting and bookkeeping services(3)

54121 1098.9 2.6 1.0 3.2 0.6 4.2

Offices of certified public accountants(3)

541211 449.5 1.8 2.4 2.8 0.9 5.2

Tax preparation services

541213 131.4 0.8 1.7 2.4 1.6 4.1

Other accounting services(3)

541219 338.7 4.7 -2.3 4.8 0.1 2.4

Architectural services

54131 182.6 1.5 1.9 2.3 0.8 4.2

Engineering services

54133 947.6 1.1 3.0 2.8 1.7 5.9

Advertising agencies

54181 206.7 1.7 2.5 2.1 0.5 4.6

Photography studios, portrait

541921 60 0.6 2.1 1.0 0.4 3.1

Administrative and Waste Services

Employment placement and executive search(4)

56131 303 3.9 0.3 5.1 1.2 5.5

Travel arrangement and reservation services(3)

5615 214.8 6.7 -1.6 3.6 -2.9 1.9

Travel agencies

56151 97.4 5.7 -1.0 4.2 -1.4 3.2

Janitorial services

56172 1323.3 2.0 1.4 3.6 1.6 5.0

Health Care and Social Assistance

Medical and diagnostic laboratories(4)

6215 261.8 2.2 0.3 5.3 3.0 5.6

Medical laboratories(4)

621511 185.2 2.1 0.2 5.3 3.1 5.5

Diagnostic imaging centers(4)

621512 76.6 2.4 0.7 5.4 2.9 6.1

Hospitals, except psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals(5)

6221,3 4670.9 0.5 3.5 2.1 1.6 5.6

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Amusement parks and arcades(6)

7131 189.7 -4.3 6.7 -1.7 2.7 4.9

Amusement and theme parks

71311 169.1 -1.2 4.3 1.8 3.0 6.2

Gambling industries(3)

7132 138.6 1.9 2.7 1.9 0.0 4.6

Golf courses and country clubs(2)

71391 381.3 -1.2 4.1 0.0 1.3 4.1

Fitness and recreational sports centers(2)

71394 580.9 3.9 -0.8 3.9 0.0 3.1

Bowling centers

71395 69.4 0.1 2.8 -1.4 -1.5 1.4

Accommodation and Food Services

Accommodation and food services

72 12851.4 0.7 2.7 2.2 1.5 5.0

Accommodation

721 1937.2 2.1 1.7 2.7 0.7 4.5

Traveler accommodation

7211 1853.9 2.1 1.7 2.8 0.7 4.5

Hotels and motels, except casino hotels

72111 1540.1 1.5 2.5 2.1 0.6 4.6

Food services and drinking places

722 10914.2 0.4 3.1 2.0 1.6 5.1

Special food services

7223 766.4 1.0 1.3 2.3 1.3 3.6

Drinking places, alcoholic beverages

7224 376 -0.5 3.3 -0.8 -0.3 2.6

Restaurants and other eating places

72251 9771.8 0.4 3.3 2.2 1.8 5.5

Full-service restaurants

722511 5083.7 0.5 3.7 2.2 1.7 5.9

Limited-service eating places

722513,4,5 4688.1 0.3 2.8 2.1 1.8 5.0

Other Services

Automotive repair and maintenance

8111 1113.1 0.9 2.3 1.3 0.4 3.7

Reupholstery and furniture repair

81142 21.1 -0.5 3.6 -2.7 -2.2 0.7

Personal care services

8121 1189.1 2.4 1.6 3.5 1.1 5.1

Hair, nail, and skin care services

81211 963 2.4 1.6 3.1 0.7 4.8

Funeral homes and funeral services

81221 113.7 -0.9 4.6 -0.4 0.5 4.1

Drycleaning and laundry services

8123 317.5 1.9 1.7 0.9 -1.0 2.6

Coin-operated laundries and drycleaners

81231 42.8 2.9 1.8 0.6 -2.3 2.4

Drycleaning and laundry services

81232 149.2 0.9 2.1 -1.0 -1.9 1.0

Linen and uniform supply

81233 125.5 1.8 1.4 2.7 0.8 4.1

Photofinishing

81292 11.8 2.5 1.8 -4.4 -6.7 -2.7

Footnotes:

(1) For NAICS industries 484, 4841, 48411, 493, 4931, 49311, 49312, average annual percent changes are for 1992-2014.

(2) For NAICS industries 4842, 48422, 48423, 71391 and 71394, average annual percent changes are for 2002-2014.

(3) For NAICS industries 5412, 54121, 541211, 541219, 5615, and 7132, average annual percent changes are for 1997-2014.

(4) For NAICS industries 56131, 6215, 621511, and 621512, average annual percent changes are for 1994-2014.

(5) For NAICS industry 6221,3, average annual percent changes are for 1993-2012. Employment is for 2012.

(6) For NAICS industry 7131, average annual percent changes are for 2007-2014.


Last Modified Date: May 18, 2016