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Productivity falls 1.9 percent (annual rate) in 1st quarter 2015

May 13, 2015

Labor productivity in nonfarm businesses decreased at a 1.9-percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2015. Output—all the goods and services that nonfarm businesses produce—declined 0.2 percent; hours worked increased 1.7 percent. Productivity rises when the change in output exceeds the change in hours. Productivity falls when the change in hours exceeds the change in output.

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity, output, and hours, percent change from previous quarter at annual rate, first quarter 2005–first quarter 2015
Quarter Labor productivity (output per hour) Output Hours

Q1 2008

-3.9 -5.1 -1.2

Q2 2008

4.0 2.0 -1.9

Q3 2008

1.0 -3.2 -4.2

Q4 2008

-2.5 -11.8 -9.6

Q1 2009

3.2 -7.3 -10.1

Q2 2009

7.9 -1.2 -8.4

Q3 2009

6.0 0.9 -4.8

Q4 2009

4.8 5.1 0.3

Q1 2010

2.1 2.2 0.1

Q2 2010

1.5 4.7 3.2

Q3 2010

2.1 4.1 2.0

Q4 2010

1.6 3.8 2.1

Q1 2011

-3.3 -2.5 0.9

Q2 2011

1.5 4.5 2.9

Q3 2011

-0.9 1.1 2.0

Q4 2011

3.0 5.8 2.8

Q1 2012

0.0 3.3 3.3

Q2 2012

2.0 2.3 0.3

Q3 2012

1.8 3.7 1.9

Q4 2012

-2.3 0.1 2.4

Q1 2013

0.6 2.4 1.8

Q2 2013

0.9 2.0 1.1

Q3 2013

3.4 5.6 2.1

Q4 2013

3.0 4.7 1.7

Q1 2014

-4.7 -2.4 2.4

Q2 2014

2.9 5.5 2.5

Q3 2014

3.9 6.3 2.4

Q4 2014

-2.1 2.6 4.9

Q1 2015

-1.9 -0.2 1.7

The decline in productivity in the first quarter of 2015 follows a decline of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

These data are from the BLS Labor Productivity and Costs program. The quarterly percent changes are seasonally adjusted annual rates. To learn more, see “Productivity and Costs — First Quarter 2015, Preliminary,” (HTML) (PDF). We calculate labor productivity by dividing inflation-adjusted output by hours worked for all employees, business owners, and unpaid family workers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity falls 1.9 percent (annual rate) in 1st quarter 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/productivity-falls-in-1st-quarter-2015.htm (visited January 21, 2021).