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Productivity up in wholesale trade, retail trade, and food services and drinking places in 2015

August 26, 2016

Labor productivity rose 1.6 percent in wholesale trade, 3.0 percent in retail trade, and 1.8 percent in food services and drinking places in 2015. Unit labor costs, which reflect the total labor costs required to produce a unit of output, also rose in all three industry groups.

Percent change in labor productivity, 2014–15
IndustryPercent change

Wholesale trade

1.6

Durable goods

0.3

Motor vehicles and parts

0.8

Furniture and furnishings

0.9

Lumber and construction supplies

-3.5

Commercial equipment

2.2

Metals and minerals

-4.9

Appliances and electric goods

4.8

Hardware and plumbing

3.3

Machinery and supplies

-5.2

Miscellaneous durable goods

-0.1

Nondurable goods

3.3

Paper and paper products

7.1

Druggists' goods

6.9

Apparel and piece goods

-1.4

Grocery and related products

-0.2

Farm product raw materials

0.7

Chemicals

0.9

Petroleum

1.2

Alcoholic beverages

6.1

Miscellaneous nondurable goods

7.4

Electronic markets and agents and brokers

0.6

Retail trade

3.0

Motor vehicle and parts dealers

2.4

Automobile dealers

1.9

Other motor vehicle dealers

-3.8

Auto parts, accessories, and tire stores

0.7

Furniture and home furnishings stores

-1.3

Furniture stores

-0.2

Home furnishings stores

-2.5

Electronics and appliance stores

4.9

Building material and garden supply stores

5.0

Building material and supplies dealers

5.3

Lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores

3.1

Food and beverage stores

2.7

Grocery stores

2.0

Specialty food stores

6.5

Beer, wine and liquor stores

8.5

Health and personal care stores

0.5

Gasoline stations

-0.1

Clothing and clothing accessories stores

3.3

Clothing stores

4.7

Shoe stores

-6.1

Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores

5.6

Sports, hobby, music instruments, book stores

4.7

Sporting goods and musical instrument stores

4.1

Book stores and news dealers

9.1

General merchandise stores

1.6

Department stores

1.2

Other general merchandise stores

0.8

Miscellaneous store retailers

0.6

Florists

10.0

Office supplies, stationery and gift stores

6.4

Used merchandise stores

-1.8

Other miscellaneous store retailers

-4.0

Nonstore retailers

9.0

Electronic shopping and mail-order houses

6.0

Vending machine operators

-6.1

Direct selling establishments

1.9

Food services and drinking places

1.8

Special food services

-1.9

Drinking places, alcoholic beverages

-1.5

Restaurants and other eating places

2.4

Among the largest industries, productivity growth was greatest in building material and supplies dealers, where output outpaced a slight increase in hours worked. Productivity fell the most in special food services, where growth in hours worked outpaced an increase in output.

In wholesale trade, productivity increased in 13 of the 19 4-digit industries, while output rose in 16 industries and hours worked grew in 13. Productivity increased in 19 of the 27 4-digit retail trade industries, while output grew in 23 industries and hours worked rose in 15.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. Data are preliminary and may be revised. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Trade, Food Services and Drinking Places, 2015" (HTML) (PDF).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity up in wholesale trade, retail trade, and food services and drinking places in 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/productivity-up-in-wholesale-trade-retail-trade-and-food-services-and-drinking-places-in-2015.htm (visited November 15, 2019).

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