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Economic News Release

Productivity and Costs by Industry: Manufacturing and Mining Industries - 2020

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, April 29, 2021                            USDL-21-0725

Technical information: (202) 691-5606  •   • 
Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  •


Labor productivity rose in 41 of the 86 NAICS four-digit manufacturing industries in 2020, 
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The footwear industry had the largest 
productivity gain with an increase of 14.5 percent. Three out of the four industries in the 
mining sector posted productivity declines in 2020, with the greatest decline occurring in 
the metal ore mining industry with a decrease of 6.7 percent. //PRIN QCT Resilio Test 10/10/2023//
Although more mining and manufacturing industries recorded productivity gains in 2020 than 
2019, declines in both output and hours worked were widespread. Output fell in over 90 
percent of detailed industries in 2020 and 87 percent had declines in hours worked. 
Seventy-two industries had declines in both output and hours worked in 2020. This was the 
greatest number of such industries since 2009. Within this set of industries, 35 had increasing 
labor productivity.

Labor Productivity Trends in NAICS 3-Digit Industries, 2020

    • Labor productivity increased in 9 of the 21 NAICS 3-digit manufacturing industries in 2020 
      as hours worked fell in all 21 industries and output declined in 19.
    • Both output and hours worked fell by over 5.0 percent in 13 industries.
    • The apparel industry had the largest productivity gain, 10.1 percent.
    • The furniture and related products industry had the largest productivity decline, 7.4 percent.

    • Labor productivity rose by 3.4 percent in the oil and gas extraction industry as hours worked 
      declined more than output.
    • The mining, except oil and gas industry had a productivity decline of 5.0 percent. Output fell 
      12.6 percent in 2020 while hours worked declined 8.0 percent.  
Trends in Unit Labor Costs in 2020

Unit labor costs increase when hourly compensation growth exceeds productivity growth.

    • In manufacturing, unit labor costs increased in 18 of the 21 NAICS 3-digit industries. The 
      three industries with declines in unit labor costs were all nondurable manufacturers with the 
      largest decline occurring in apparel. 
    • Twenty-six NAICS 4-digit manufacturing industries had declines in unit labor costs. Of these, 
      nearly three quarters also recorded growth in productivity.

    • Unit labor costs declined in the oil and gas extraction industry by 1.7 percent but increased 
      in the mining, except oil and gas industry by 2.6 percent.
    • Unit labor costs rose in 3 of the 4 NAICS 4-digit mining industries measured. All three of 
      these industries recorded declines in hourly compensation along with even greater declines in 

Long-Term Trends in Labor Productivity and Unit Labor Costs 

Labor Productivity
    • Over the entire 1987-2020 period, labor productivity rose in 83 of the 91 manufacturing and 
      mining industries. Output rose in 50 industries while hours worked increased in only 14. In 
      the 14 industries where hours worked increased, they rose at a slow pace, 0.7 percent per year 
      on average.
    • During the more recent 2007-2020 period, productivity increased in just 38 industries. These 
      increases are predominantly the result of a decline in hours worked rather than an increase in 
      output, as hours worked fell in 79 NAICS 4-digit manufacturing and mining industries while 
      output increased in only 11. Oil and gas extraction had the greatest average annual growth in 
      output over this period, 6.0 percent. 

Unit Labor Costs
    • During the 1987-2020 period, unit labor costs increased in 78 of the 86 NAICS 4-digit 
      manufacturing industries. All five mining industries saw an increase in unit labor costs. 
    • From 2007 to 2020, unit labor costs increased in 82 of the 86 manufacturing industries and in 
      3 of the 5 mining industries. Unit labor costs increased the most in the pharmaceutical and 
      medicine industry. 

The computer and peripheral equipment industry recorded the largest productivity gain as well as the 
largest unit labor cost decline during both the 1987-2020 and 1987-2007 periods. However, between 2007 
and 2020, the oil and gas extraction industry posted the greatest productivity growth and the largest 
unit labor cost decline.

Additional Information

Manufacturing industry output measures for 2019 and earlier years are constructed primarily using data 
from the economic censuses and annual surveys of the U.S. Census Bureau together with data on price 
changes primarily from BLS. These measures have been revised due to the release of the 2017 Economic 
Census Summary Series and the 2019 Annual Survey of Manufactures. Manufacturing industry output for 2020 
is estimated based on historical relationships between BLS sectoral output, BLS price indexes, and data 
on industrial production from the Federal Reserve Board.

Mining industry output measures are constructed primarily using data from the U.S. Energy Information 
Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Commodity Summaries and Mineral Yearbooks. The 
data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are usually revised on a monthly schedule while the 
U.S. Geological Survey’s publications are released annually. 

The COVID-19 pandemic did not impact the availability of source data used to construct productivity 
measures in this release. Data source providers continued to collect and publish high quality industry 
data for 2020. Additional information can be found on the BLS website at

Access the productivity data dashboard at for
    • Additional industries and sectors
    • Detailed data series: indexes of productivity and related measures; rates of change; and levels of industry 
      employment, hours worked, nominal value of production, and labor compensation
    • Additional years and long-term data
Subscribe to productivity news releases on the BLS website at

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 
(202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.
Last Modified Date: October 10, 2023