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Labor productivity up 2.6 percent in wholesale trade in 2014

August 12, 2015

Labor productivity—defined as output per hour—rose 2.6 percent in wholesale trade, 1.9 percent in retail trade, and 0.3 percent in food services and drinking places in 2014. Unit labor costs, the total labor costs of producing a unit of output, also rose in all three industries.

Percent change in labor productivity, unit labor costs, and related data, selected industries, 2013–14
Industry Labor productivity   Output     Hours   Labor compensation Unit labor costs

Wholesale trade

2.6 4.3 1.7 4.9 0.5

Durable goods

2.4 4.7 2.3 4.5 -0.2

Nondurable goods

3.1 4.1 1.0 5.3 1.2

Electronic markets and agents and brokers

2.4 3.6 1.2 5.2 1.6

Retail trade

1.9 3.9 2.0 4.8 0.8

Motor vehicle and parts dealers

3.7 7.5 3.7 6.3 -1.1

Furniture and home furnishings stores

-0.2 6.1 6.4 7.2 1.0

Electronics and appliance stores

5.7 9.3 3.5 2.2 -6.5

Building material and garden supply stores

3.6 4.6 0.9 4.0 -0.5

Food and beverage stores

-1.3 1.3 2.7 4.4 3.1

Health and personal care stores

5.0 3.9 -1.0 3.2 -0.8

Gasoline stations

-0.4 -0.1 0.3 4.0 4.1

Clothing and clothing accessories stores

1.5 2.3 0.8 3.2 0.8

Sports, hobby, music instruments, book stores

-2.1 1.3 3.4 3.9 2.6

General merchandise stores

2.8 2.6 -0.2 3.1 0.5

Miscellaneous store retailers

0.3 2.6 2.3 5.1 2.5

Nonstore retailers

-1.8 6.3 8.2 11.1 4.6

Food services and drinking places

0.3 3.7 3.3 5.4 1.6

Special food services

-4.7 4.0 9.0 2.3 -1.6

Drinking places, alcoholic beverages

0.0 1.3 1.4 3.6 2.2

Restaurants and other eating places

0.9 3.8 2.9 5.8 2.0

In wholesale trade, productivity rose 2.6 percent, as output grew 4.3 percent and hours increased 1.7 percent. Productivity grew 2.4 percent in durable goods wholesalers and 3.1 percent in nondurable goods wholesalers. Productivity increased in 16 of the 19 detailed wholesale trade industries; output rose in 17 industries and hours grew in 18. Productivity increased most rapidly in apparel and piece goods and in druggists' goods. Unit labor costs declined in 8 wholesale trade industries.

In retail trade, productivity grew 1.9 percent, as output rose 3.9 percent and hours rose 2.0 percent. Productivity increased in 13 of the 27 detailed retail trade industries; output grew in 22 industries and hours rose in 21. The largest productivity increases were in beer, wine, and liquor stores and electronics and appliance stores. Output increased strongly in both of these industries. Unit labor costs fell in 9 retail trade industries.

In food services and drinking places, productivity rose 0.3 percent, as output grew 3.7 percent and hours rose 3.3 percent. Output and hours rose in all three of the detailed industries, but productivity rose only in restaurants and other eating places. Unit labor costs rose in restaurants and other eating places and in drinking places.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places Industries, 2014" (HTML) (PDF).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor productivity up 2.6 percent in wholesale trade in 2014 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/labor-productivity-up-2-point-6-percent-in-wholesale-trade-in-2014.htm (visited November 15, 2019).

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