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Multifactor productivity up in 53 manufacturing industries over the period from 1987 to 2016

July 05, 2018

Over the long-term period from 1987 to 2016, multifactor productivity grew in 53 manufacturing industries. In 2015 and 2016, however, productivity grew in only 37 industries. Over the long term, average annual rates of change in multifactor productivity ranged from -2.0 percent to 2.0 percent for nearly all manufacturing industries. Twenty-six industries had declines of 2.0 percent or more in 2016, while only one two industries (pharmaceuticals and medicines and accessories and other apparel) had declines of that magnitude over the long-term period.

Average annual percent change in multifactor prouctivity, 1987–2016, selected industries
Industry Multifactor productivity Output Combined inputs

Computer and peripheral equipment

12.1% 11.4% -0.6%

Semiconductors and electronic components

9.1 10.7 1.5

Communications equipment

2.6 1.9 -0.7

Audio and video equipment

2.1 -1.5 -3.6

Magnetic media manufacturing and reproducing

1.7 -2.1 -3.7

Iron and steel mills and ferroalloys

1.6 1.0 -0.6

Electronic instruments

0.9 1.3 0.4

Alumina and aluminum production

0.9 0.4 -0.5

Coating, engraving, and heat treating metals

0.8 1.9 1.1

Machine shops and threaded products

0.6 2.1 1.5

Other nonferrous metal production

0.6 0.2 -0.4

Forging and stamping

0.5 1.0 0.5


0.4 -0.4 -0.7

Spring and wire products

0.2 -0.1 -0.3

Steel products from purchased steel

0.1 -0.5 -0.6

Boilers, tanks, and shipping containers

0.0 0.2 0.2

Cutlery and handtools

-0.2 -1.1 -0.9

Architectural and structural metals

-0.3 0.9 1.2

Other fabricated metal products

-0.5 -0.1 0.4


-0.8 -2.3 -1.5

Pharmaceuticals and medicines

-2.3 1.5 3.8

From 1987 to 2016, multifactor productivity increased in computer and peripheral equipment by 12.1 percent. The industry’s output rose by 11.4 percent over the period, while its combined inputs decreased by 0.6 percent. Over the same period, multifactor productivity for semiconductors and electronic components increased by 9.1 percent, with output in the industry increasing by 10.7 percent and combined inputs increasing by 1.5 percent.

Multifactor productivity in hardware manufacturing decreased by 0.8 percent over the 1987–2016 period, as output in the industry decreased by 2.3 percent and combined inputs decreased by 1.5 percent.

These data are from the Multifactor Productivity program. Productivity data are subject to revision. To learn more, see "Multifactor Productivity Trends for Detailed Industries, 2016." Multifactor productivity indexes relate the change in output to the change in the combination of labor, capital, and intermediate purchases consumed in producing that output.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Multifactor productivity up in 53 manufacturing industries over the period from 1987 to 2016 at (visited September 27, 2021).


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