Labor productivity up 1.8 percent from the second quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019

August 20, 2019

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.8 percent from the second quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019, reflecting a 2.6-percent increase in output and a 0.8-percent increase in hours worked. This was the largest over the-year increase since a 2.2-percent gain from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015.

 Percent change in productivity and costs by sector, second quarter 2018 to second quarter 2019
Sector Nonfarm business Business Manufacturing Durable goods Nondurable goods

Labor productivity (output per hour)

1.8% 1.8% 0.2% 0.7% -0.1%

Output

2.6 2.7 0.4 1.4 -0.7

Hours worked

0.8 0.9 0.2 0.7 -0.6

Hourly compensation

4.3 4.3 4.5 4.4 4.5

Real hourly compensation

2.5 2.4 2.6 2.5 2.6

Unit labor costs

2.5 2.5 4.3 3.6 4.6

Over the last four quarters, unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 2.5 percent, compared with a 1.5-percent increase from the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019.

From the second quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019, total manufacturing sector productivity increased 0.2 percent, as output increased 0.4 percent and hours worked increased 0.2 percent.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see Productivity and Costs — Second Quarter 2019, Preliminary. Also see Charts related to the latest "Productivity and Costs" news release. Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers. BLS calculates unit labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor productivity up 1.8 percent from the second quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/labor-productivity-up-1-point-8-percent-from-the-second-quarter-of-2018-to-the-second-quarter-of-2019.htm (visited September 18, 2019).

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