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Productivity up 1.8 percent from fourth quarter 2017 to fourth quarter 2018

March 11, 2019

From the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, nonfarm business productivity increased 1.8 percent, reflecting a 3.7-percent increase in output and a 1.9-percent increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs in nonfarm business also increased 1.0 percent from fourth quarter 2017.

 Percent change in productivity measures from fourth quarter 2017 to fourth quarter 2018
Measure Nonfarm business Business Manufacturing Durable manufacturing Nondurable manufacturing

Labor productivity

1.8% 1.9% 1.0% 1.5% 1.3%


3.7 3.6 2.9 4.5 1.3

Hours worked

1.9 1.7 1.9 3.0 0.0

Hourly compensation

2.8 2.9 1.8 1.6 1.8

Real hourly compensation

0.6 0.7 -0.4 -0.6 -0.4

Unit labor costs

1.0 1.0 0.8 0.2 0.6

Over the last four quarters, manufacturing productivity increased 1.0 percent, as output increased 2.9 percent and hours worked increased 1.9 percent. Unit labor costs in manufacturing rose 0.8 percent from the fourth quarter a year ago.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see Productivity and Costs — Fourth Quarter 2018, Revised. 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.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity up 1.8 percent from fourth quarter 2017 to fourth quarter 2018 at (visited May 28, 2024).

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