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Productivity increases at 1.6-percent annual rate in third quarter 2015

November 12, 2015

Labor productivity in nonfarm businesses increased at a 1.6-percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2015. This resulted from a 1.2-percent increase in output—all the goods and services nonfarm businesses produce—and a 0.5-percent decrease in hours worked. The decline in hours worked was the first since a 4.8-percent decline in the third quarter of 2009.

Nonfarm business sector productivity, output, and hours, percent change from previous quarter at annual rate, first quarter 2005–third quarter 2015
Quarter Productivity Output Hours

Q1 2005

4.4 5.2 0.7

Q2 2005

-0.4 2.1 2.6

Q3 2005

3.0 3.9 0.9

Q4 2005

0.2 2.8 2.6

Q1 2006

2.5 6.3 3.7

Q2 2006

-0.3 0.8 1.1

Q3 2006

-1.8 0.5 2.3

Q4 2006

3.2 4.5 1.2

Q1 2007

0.4 0.5 0.1

Q2 2007

2.6 4.1 1.4

Q3 2007

4.6 3.4 -1.2

Q4 2007

1.8 0.8 -0.9

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

-0.8 1.1 2.0

Q4 2011

3.0 5.8 2.7

Q1 2012

0.6 3.9 3.2

Q2 2012

2.5 2.7 0.2

Q3 2012

-0.8 1.0 1.8

Q4 2012

-2.2 0.2 2.4

Q1 2013

-0.1 1.7 1.8

Q2 2013

0.1 1.1 1.1

Q3 2013

1.4 3.5 2.1

Q4 2013

3.5 5.2 1.7

Q1 2014

-3.5 -1.2 2.3

Q2 2014

2.8 5.4 2.5

Q3 2014

3.1 5.5 2.3

Q4 2014

-2.2 2.6 4.9

Q1 2015

-1.1 0.5 1.6

Q2 2015

3.5 5.1 1.5

Q3 2015

1.6 1.2 -0.5

In the third quarter of 2015, the decline in hours worked reflected a decrease of 0.9 percent in average weekly hours that was partially offset by an increase of 0.5 percent in employment. The increase in employment, which includes employees, business owners, and unpaid family workers, was the smallest since a 0.3-percent increase in the third quarter of 2010. Over the last four quarters, hours worked increased 1.9 percent, employment increased 2.2 percent, and average weekly hours worked declined 0.4 percent.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. All quarterly percent changes are seasonally adjusted annual rates. To learn more, see “Productivity and Costs — Third Quarter 2015, Preliminary,” (HTML) (PDF). Labor productivity is calculated 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 increases at 1.6-percent annual rate in third quarter 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/productivity-increases-in-third-quarter-2015.htm (visited January 21, 2021).