Unit labor costs in the third quarter of 2010

December 03, 2010

From the previous quarter, at an annual rate, unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses decreased 0.1 percent in the third quarter of 2010, because productivity grew 2.3 percent while hourly compensation increased 2.2 percent.

Change in nonfarm business and manufacturing unit labor costs, seasonally adjusted, first quarter 2005–third quarter 2010 (percent change from previous quarter at annual rate)
[Chart data]

From the previous quarter, at an annual rate, manufacturing unit labor costs increased 1.0 percent in the third quarter of 2010.

Over the last four quarters, unit labor costs in nonfarm business declined 1.1 percent, while unit labor costs in manufacturing fell 2.9 percent over that same period.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines unit labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity; increases in hourly compensation tend to increase unit labor costs and increases in output per hour tend to reduce them.

These data, from the Productivity and Costs program, are seasonally adjusted and are subject to revision. To learn more about productivity, output, hours and related measures, see "Productivity and Costs: Third Quarter 2010, Revised" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-1661.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unit labor costs in the third quarter of 2010 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2010/ted_20101203.htm (visited October 01, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.