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Labor productivity in elementary and secondary schools down slightly from 1989 to 2012

July 13, 2016

BLS has developed new measures of labor productivity in elementary and secondary schools (kindergarten through grade 12). Productivity, expressed as output per hour, relates an industry’s output of goods or services to the amount of labor input required to produce that output. In elementary and secondary schools, output is basically the number of students enrolled with adjustments for quality change made using students’ scores on standardized tests. Over the period from 1989 to 2012, labor productivity in elementary and secondary schools declined, on average, about 0.2 percent per year.

Index of labor productivity, output, and input in elementary and secondary schools, 1989–2012
Year Labor productivity Quality-adjusted output Labor input

1989

100.000 100.000 100.000

1990

99.827 101.813 101.989

1991

100.631 103.700 103.049

1992

104.083 106.452 102.276

1993

104.024 108.516 104.318

1994

103.357 110.537 106.946

1995

103.513 113.054 109.218

1996

103.224 115.273 111.673

1997

100.968 116.740 115.620

1998

98.986 118.099 119.309

1999

96.892 119.999 123.849

2000

96.605 121.409 125.676

2001

95.363 123.825 129.846

2002

95.712 125.331 130.947

2003

96.130 126.462 131.553

2004

95.303 127.738 134.033

2005

94.875 129.029 135.999

2006

94.683 129.838 137.129

2007

93.412 129.920 139.083

2008

92.701 130.304 140.563

2009

92.035 129.626 140.844

2010

95.062 130.378 137.150

2011

96.345 131.092 136.066

2012

96.212 131.606 136.788

Output in elementary and secondary schools increased at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent from 1989 to 2012, with the highest growth rate occurring in the 1990s. Output grew 1.8 percent per year from 1990 to 2000, slowed to 0.5 percent per year between 2000 and 2007, and then slowed even further to a 0.1-percent average annual rate from 2007 to 2012.

Over the 1989–2012 period, productivity in elementary and secondary schools increased in the early years (1990–95), declined from 1996 to 2009, and increased slightly from 2010 to 2012. Despite the recent increases, productivity in this industry has not returned to its 1989 level.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see “Labor productivity growth in elementary and secondary school services: 1989–2012,” by Susan G. Powers and Steven Flint, Monthly Labor Review, June 2016.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor productivity in elementary and secondary schools down slightly from 1989 to 2012 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/labor-productivity-in-elementary-and-secondary-schools-down-slightly-from-1989-to-2012.htm (visited November 19, 2019).

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