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Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019

February 10, 2020

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, as output increased 2.5 percent and hours worked increased 1.1 percent.

Productivity and costs by sector, percent change from previous quarter, 4th quarter 2019
Sector Business Nonfarm Business Manufacturing Durable goods manufacturing Nondurable goods manufacturing

Labor productivity (output per hour)

1.1% 1.4% -1.2% -0.8% -2.2%

Output

2.4 2.5 -1.0 -1.6 -0.4

Hours worked

1.3 1.1 0.2 -0.8 1.9

Unit labor costs

1.5 1.4 5.9 7.5 3.4

Hourly compensation

2.6 2.8 4.6 6.6 1.1

Real Hourly compensation

0.0 0.3 2.0 3.9 -1.4

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, as hourly compensation grew at a faster rate (2.8 percent) than productivity (1.4 percent).

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see Productivity and Costs — Fourth 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. Increases in hourly compensation tend to increase unit labor costs, and increases in output per hour tend to reduce them. All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/nonfarm-business-sector-labor-productivity-increased-1-point-4-percent-in-the-fourth-quarter-of-2019.htm (visited October 23, 2020).

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