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Economic News Release
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Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing and Mining Industries, 2005

Internet:		USDL 07-0823
Technical information:   (202) 691-5618		For release: 10:00 a.m. EDT
Media contact:   (202) 691-5902			Friday, June 8, 2007

                          PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS BY INDUSTRY:

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today on 
productivity and costs for selected service-providing and mining industries in 2005.  
Labor productivity, defined as output per hour, rose in approximately two-thirds of the 42 
industries studied, about the same as in 2004.  Unit labor costs declined in 17 out of 42 
industries.  Over the long term period of 1987 to 2005, labor productivity increased in 
more industries than in 2005, and unit labor costs declined in fewer. //PRIN ZUNI3PO Test 03252021//

      Productivity and cost measures for three new industries are presented here for the 
first time: employment placement agencies (NAICS 56131), amusement and theme parks 
(NAICS 71311), and bowling centers (NAICS 71395).  Productivity data for the 
manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, and food services and drinking places 
industries are published in separate releases and can be accessed online at

2004-2005 change

      In 2005, labor productivity increased in 26 of the 38 detailed service-providing 
industries and fell in 12 industries. (See table 1.)  Three industries recorded double-digit 
growth. The biggest increase in output per hour, 34.4 percent, occurred in wireless 
telecommunications carriers (NAICS 5172).  Labor productivity also grew by double 
digits in travel agencies (NAICS 56151), where output per hour increased 12.4 percent, 
and in photofinishing (NAICS 81292), where productivity grew 10.9 percent.  The two 
industries where productivity fell the most, passenger car rental (NAICS 532111) and 
line-haul railroads (NAICS 482111), recorded declines of 6.6 percent and 5.4 percent, 
      Labor productivity fell 10.1 percent in the mining sector (NAICS 21). Among the 
detailed industries covered, coal mining (NAICS 2121) showed the largest decline, 4.6 
percent.  Nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying (NAICS 2123) was the only mining 
industry with labor productivity growth, 2.2 percent.  However, BLS does not publish 
every detailed mining industry in the sector; therefore, results for the detailed industries 
shown in the table may not be consistent with the results shown for the sector as a whole.
      Unit labor costs, defined as the total labor costs required to produce a unit of 
output, rose in the majority of the service-providing industries.  The biggest increase, 9.2 
percent, occurred in employment placement agencies (NAICS 56131).  However, 15 of 
the 38 detailed service-providing industries reduced unit labor costs.  Unit labor costs fell 
20.2 percent in wireless telecommunications carriers (NAICS 5172) and 11.5 percent in 
travel agencies (NAICS 56151), the two industries where productivity increased the 
most, and 10.7 percent in air transportation (NAICS 481).

      Unit labor costs increased rapidly in the mining sector.  Growth in unit labor costs 
was especially strong in the oil and gas extraction industry (NAICS 211), rising 16.9 
percent in 2005.  Only nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying (NAICS 2123), the sole 
mining industry with productivity growth, recorded a reduction in unit labor costs of 2.9 

Long-term trends

      Between 1987 and 2005, labor productivity in the detailed service-providing 
industries increased in 33 industries and fell in 5 industries. Software publishers (NAICS 
5112) recorded the fastest productivity growth over the period, 17.0 percent per year on 
average, followed by wireless telecommunications carriers (NAICS 5172) with average 
annual growth of 9.6 percent.  Two industries in the transportation sector, used household 
and office goods moving (NAICS 48421) and couriers and messengers (NAICS 492), had 
the largest labor productivity declines, falling an average of 1.0 percent per year in both 
      Labor productivity in the mining sector (NAICS 21) grew 0.6 percent per year on 
average from 1987 to 2005.  All four detailed mining industries experienced productivity 
gains. Both coal mining (NAICS 2121) and metal ore mining (NAICS 2122) recorded 
average annual growth of 3.4 percent, which was the highest among the mining 
      Unit labor costs among the detailed service-providing industries increased in 28 
industries and declined in 10 industries.  Funeral homes and funeral services (NAICS 
81221) experienced the largest growth, 4.6 percent per year, followed by couriers and 
messengers (NAICS 492) with average annual growth of 4.4 percent. The most rapid 
declines in unit labor costs occurred in the two industries with the fastest productivity 
growth.  Software publishers (NAICS 5112) reduced unit labor costs an average 10.0 
percent per year and wireless telecommunications carriers (NAICS 5172) showed a 
decline of 6.3 percent.
      Unit labor costs for the mining sector increased at an average annual rate of 4.0 
percent between 1987 and 2005, led by an increase of 5.1 percent in oil and gas 
extraction (NAICS 211). Only coal mining (NAICS 2121) reduced unit labor costs, 
which fell an average 0.7 percent per year.

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Last Modified Date: March 25, 2021