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Economic News Release
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Technical notes

                        TECHNICAL NOTES
Labor Hours: Hours data for the labor productivity and cost measures 
include hours for all persons working in the sector--wage and salary 
workers, the self-employed and unpaid family workers. The primary source 
of hours and employment data is the BLS Current Employment Statistics 
(CES) program, which provides monthly survey data on the number of jobs 
held by wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments. The CES also 
provides average weekly paid hours of production and nonsupervisory 
workers in these establishments. Weekly paid hours are adjusted to hours 
at work using data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS). The BLS 
Hours at Work survey, conducted for this purpose, was used for earlier 
years. The Office of Productivity and Technology estimates average weekly 
hours at work for nonproduction and supervisory workers using information 
from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the CES, and the NCS.
     Data from the CPS are used for farm labor, nonfarm proprietors, and 
nonfarm unpaid family workers. Estimates of labor input for government 
enterprises are derived from the CPS, the CES, and the National Income and 
Product Accounts (NIPA) prepared by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) 
of the Department of Commerce.
     The CES measures jobs, counting a person who is employed by two or 
more establishments at each place of employment. In contrast, the CPS 
features measures of employment that count each person only once and 
classify each person according to his or her primary job; hours worked at 
all jobs by that person accrue to his or her primary job. However, the CPS 
also collects more detailed information on employment and hours worked at 
primary jobs and all other jobs, separately. The BLS productivity measures 
use the more detailed information on employment and hours to assign all 
hours worked to the correct industrial sector and avoid duplicating hours 
data from the CES.

Output: Business sector output is a chain-type, current-weighted index 
constructed after excluding from gross domestic product (GDP) the 
following outputs: general government, nonprofit institutions, and private 
households (including owner-occupied housing). Corresponding exclusions 
also are made in labor inputs. Business output accounted for about 75 
percent of the value of GDP in 2011. Nonfarm business, which excludes 
farming, accounted for about 74 percent of GDP in 2011.
     Annual indexes for manufacturing and its durable and nondurable goods 
components are constructed by deflating current-dollar industry value of 
production data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census with deflators from the 
BLS. These deflators are based on data from the BLS producer price program 
and other sources. The industry shipments are aggregated using annual 
weights, and intrasector transactions are removed. Quarterly manufacturing 
output measures are based on the index of industrial production prepared 
monthly by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, adjusted 
to be consistent with annual indexes of manufacturing sector output 
prepared by BLS. Durables include the following 3-digit NAICS industries: 
wood product manufacturing; nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing; 
primary metal manufacturing; fabricated metal product manufacturing; 
machinery manufacturing; computer and electronic product manufacturing; 
electrical equipment and appliance manufacturing; transportation equipment 
manufacturing; furniture and related product manufacturing; and 
miscellaneous manufacturing. Nondurables include: food manufacturing; 
beverage and tobacco product manufacturing; textile mills; textile product 
mills; apparel manufacturing; leather and allied product manufacturing; 
paper manufacturing; printing and related support activities; petroleum 
and coal products manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; and plastics and 
rubber products manufacturing.
     Nonfinancial corporate output is a chain-type, current-weighted index 
calculated on the basis of the costs incurred and the incomes earned from 
production.  The output measure excludes the following outputs from GDP: 
general government; nonprofit institutions; private households; 
unincorporated business; and those corporations classified as offices of 
bank holding companies, offices of other holding companies, or offices in 
the finance and insurance sector. Nonfinancial corporations accounted for 
about 49 percent of the value of GDP in 2011.
Productivity: These productivity measures describe the relationship 
between real output and the labor time involved in its production. They 
show the changes from period to period in the amount of goods and services 
produced per hour. Although these measures relate output to hours at work 
of all persons engaged in a sector, they do not measure the specific 
contribution of labor, capital, or any other factor of production. Rather, 
they reflect the joint effects of many influences, including changes in 
technology; capital investment; level of output; utilization of capacity, 
energy, and materials; the organization of production; managerial skill; 
and the characteristics and effort of the work force.

Labor Compensation: The measure includes accrued wages and salaries, 
supplements, employer contributions to employee benefit plans, and taxes. 
Estimates of labor compensation by major sector, required for measures of 
hourly compensation and unit labor costs, are based primarily on employee 
compensation data from the NIPA, prepared by the BEA. The compensation of 
employees in general government, nonprofit institutions and private 
households are subtracted from compensation of domestic employees to 
derive employee compensation for the business sector. The labor 
compensation of proprietors cannot be explicitly identified and must be 
estimated. This is done by assuming that proprietors have the same hourly 
compensation as employees in the same sector. The quarterly labor 
productivity and cost measures do not contain estimates of compensation 
for unpaid family workers.  
Unit Labor Costs: The measures of unit labor costs in this release 
describe the relationship between compensation per hour and productivity, 
or real output per hour, and can be used as an indicator of inflationary 
pressure on producers. Increases in hourly compensation increase unit 
labor costs; labor productivity increases offset compensation increases 
and lower unit labor costs. 

Presentation of the data: The quarterly data in this release are presented 
in three ways: as percent changes from the previous quarter presented at a 
compound annual rate, as percent changes from the corresponding quarter of 
the previous year, and as index number series where 2005=100. Annual data 
are presented both as index number series and percent changes from the 
previous year.  
        The index numbers and rates of change reported in the productivity 
and costs news release are rounded to one decimal place. All percent 
changes in this release and on the BLS web site are calculated using index 
numbers to three decimal places. These index numbers are available at the 
BLS web site,, or by contacting the BLS Division 
of Major Sector Productivity. (Telephone 202-691-5606 or email 
Information in this release will be made available to sensory-impaired 
individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5606; Federal Relay Service 
number: 1-800-877-8339.

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Last Modified Date: October 29, 2020