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Nonfarm business labor productivity down 0.6 percent from first quarter 2021 to first quarter 2022

May 13, 2022

From the first quarter 2021 to the first quarter 2022, nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased 0.6 percent, reflecting a 4.2-percent increase in output that was outpaced by a 4.8-percent increase in hours worked. This is the largest over-the-year decline since the fourth quarter of 1993, when the measure also declined 0.6 percent.

Labor productivity (output per hour), and related measures, percent change from same quarter a year ago, 1st quarter 2012–1st quarter 2022
Quarter Productivity   Output   Hours worked Hourly
compensation
Real hourly
compensation
Unit
labor costs

Q1 2012

0.9% 3.8% 2.9% 1.0% -1.8% 0.1%

Q2 2012

1.2 3.4 2.2 2.3 0.3 1.0

Q3 2012

1.5 3.7 2.2 1.6 -0.1 0.2

Q4 2012

0.4 2.4 2.0 5.7 3.7 5.3

Q1 2013

0.5 2.1 1.6 1.7 0.0 1.2

Q2 2013

-0.2 1.5 1.7 2.0 0.5 2.2

Q3 2013

0.3 2.3 1.9 1.6 0.1 1.3

Q4 2013

1.4 3.1 1.7 -0.3 -1.6 -1.7

Q1 2014

-0.2 1.6 1.8 3.1 1.6 3.3

Q2 2014

1.1 3.2 2.1 1.9 -0.2 0.8

Q3 2014

1.5 3.8 2.2 2.8 1.0 1.3

Q4 2014

0.2 3.3 3.1 3.2 2.0 3.0

Q1 2015

2.1 4.9 2.7 2.6 2.6 0.5

Q2 2015

1.4 3.9 2.4 3.9 3.8 2.4

Q3 2015

0.5 2.6 2.1 3.5 3.3 3.0

Q4 2015

0.7 2.1 1.5 2.4 1.9 1.7

Q1 2016

0.2 1.8 1.7 1.2 0.1 1.0

Q2 2016

-0.2 1.4 1.6 0.6 -0.5 0.8

Q3 2016

0.2 1.8 1.5 0.7 -0.5 0.5

Q4 2016

1.2 2.4 1.2 1.8 0.0 0.6

Q1 2017

0.9 2.2 1.2 2.7 0.1 1.8

Q2 2017

0.9 2.6 1.7 3.0 1.1 2.1

Q3 2017

1.3 2.8 1.5 3.8 1.8 2.5

Q4 2017

1.2 3.3 2.0 4.2 2.1 3.0

Q1 2018

1.5 3.7 2.2 3.9 1.6 2.4

Q2 2018

2.0 4.0 2.0 3.6 0.9 1.6

Q3 2018

1.5 3.6 2.1 3.6 1.0 2.2

Q4 2018

1.0 2.7 1.6 2.6 0.4 1.6

Q1 2019

1.6 2.6 1.0 4.3 2.6 2.7

Q2 2019

2.1 2.6 0.4 4.2 2.4 2.1

Q3 2019

2.1 2.8 0.7 3.0 1.2 0.9

Q4 2019

2.4 3.0 0.5 3.9 1.8 1.4

Q1 2020

0.9 0.2 -0.7 3.7 1.6 2.7

Q2 2020

2.5 -11.5 -13.6 8.7 8.2 6.0

Q3 2020

3.7 -3.7 -7.1 7.3 6.0 3.4

Q4 2020

2.7 -2.7 -5.2 8.6 7.3 5.8

Q1 2021

3.9 1.3 -2.5 6.2 4.3 2.3

Q2 2021

2.2 15.9 13.5 3.4 -1.3 1.2

Q3 2021

-0.4 6.2 6.6 6.3 1.0 6.7

Q4 2021

1.9 6.9 4.9 5.5 -1.1 3.6

Q1 2022

-0.6 4.2 4.8 6.5 -1.4 7.2

Hourly compensation increased 6.5 percent over the past year. Real (adjusted for inflation) hourly compensation decreased 1.4 percent from first quarter 2021 to first quarted 2022.

Unit labor costs increased 7.2 percent over the last four quarters, the largest four-quarter increase since an 8.2-percent increase in the third quarter of 1982.

In the first quarter of 2022, hours worked was 0.9 percent above its fourth-quarter 2019 level, the last quarter not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. First-quarter 2022 output was 3.5 percent above its fourth-quarter 2019 level. The labor productivity index was 2.6 percent higher in first quarter 2022 than in fourth quarter 2019, corresponding to an annual labor productivity growth rate of 1.1 percent during that period.

These data are from the Productivity program and are seasonally adjusted annual rates, subject to revision. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs — First Quarter 2022" 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 for all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Nonfarm business labor productivity down 0.6 percent from first quarter 2021 to first quarter 2022 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/nonfarm-business-labor-productivity-down-0-6-percent-from-first-quarter-2021-to-first-quarter-2022.htm (visited May 17, 2022).

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