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Nonfarm business sector productivity grew 1.9 percent in 2021

February 07, 2022

Nonfarm business sector productivity grew 1.9 percent in 2021, as output increased 7.4 percent and hours worked increased 5.4 percent. The increases in output and hours are the largest annual increases since 1984, when the measures increased 8.5 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

 Labor productivity growth and related measures in nonfarm business sector, annual average changes, 1948 to 2021
Year Labor productivity Hours worked Output Hourly compensation Unit labor costs Real hourly compensation

1948

2.5% 1.6% 4.2% 8.7% 6.0% 0.6%

1949

3.2 -3.9 -0.8 2.9 -0.3 4.2

1950

6.7 3.2 10.1 5.9 -0.7 4.6

1951

2.6 4.7 7.4 8.7 5.9 0.7

1952

1.9 1.1 3.0 5.5 3.5 3.5

1953

2.4 2.5 5.0 5.6 3.0 4.8

1954

2.0 -3.4 -1.5 3.2 1.2 2.4

1955

4.3 4.0 8.5 3.6 -0.6 4.0

1956

-0.6 2.5 1.9 6.1 6.7 4.5

1957

2.6 -0.6 2.0 5.8 3.2 2.4

1958

2.3 -4.2 -2.0 4.0 1.6 1.1

1959

3.5 4.6 8.3 3.8 0.3 3.1

1960

1.2 0.6 1.8 4.3 3.1 2.6

1961

3.3 -1.1 2.2 3.3 0.1 2.3

1962

4.5 2.2 6.8 4.0 -0.5 3.0

1963

3.4 1.1 4.6 3.4 0.0 2.1

1964

2.8 3.7 6.7 3.0 0.2 1.7

1965

3.2 3.9 7.2 3.3 0.1 1.7

1966

3.6 3.5 7.2 5.9 2.2 3.0

1967

1.9 0.0 1.9 5.8 3.9 2.7

1968

3.5 1.8 5.3 7.5 3.9 3.2

1969

0.2 2.9 3.1 6.8 6.6 1.3

1970

1.5 -1.6 -0.1 7.0 5.4 1.2

1971

3.9 -0.2 3.7 6.1 2.1 1.7

1972

3.5 3.1 6.7 6.5 2.9 3.2

1973

3.1 4.1 7.3 7.6 4.4 1.3

1974

-1.6 0.1 -1.5 9.5 11.3 -1.4

1975

2.8 -4.3 -1.6 10.5 7.6 1.3

1976

3.5 3.6 7.2 7.8 4.1 1.9

1977

1.7 3.9 5.7 8.2 6.4 1.6

1978

1.4 5.2 6.7 8.6 7.1 1.5

1979

-0.2 3.6 3.4 9.5 9.8 0.0

1980

0.0 -0.8 -0.9 10.8 10.8 -0.4

1981

1.5 0.8 2.3 9.6 8.0 0.2

1982

-0.8 -2.3 -3.1 7.4 8.2 1.2

1983

4.1 2.0 6.2 4.5 0.4 0.2

1984

2.2 6.1 8.5 4.3 2.0 0.1

1985

1.8 2.6 4.4 4.9 3.1 1.4

1986

3.0 0.8 3.8 5.8 2.7 4.0

1987

0.6 3.0 3.6 3.8 3.2 0.3

1988

1.6 2.9 4.6 5.1 3.4 1.5

1989

0.9 2.7 3.7 2.9 2.0 -1.4

1990

1.7 -0.2 1.5 6.0 4.2 1.0

1991

1.6 -2.2 -0.6 4.8 3.1 1.1

1992

4.5 -0.4 4.1 6.2 1.7 3.6

1993

0.1 3.0 3.1 1.2 1.1 -1.3

1994

0.7 3.9 4.6 1.0 0.3 -1.1

1995

1.1 2.3 3.4 2.5 1.4 0.1

1996

2.1 2.3 4.5 3.5 1.3 0.8

1997

1.9 3.2 5.2 3.9 1.9 1.7

1998

3.4 2.2 5.6 5.8 2.3 4.4

1999

3.9 1.8 5.8 4.7 0.7 2.5

2000

3.0 1.4 4.4 7.0 3.9 3.5

2001

2.6 -1.9 0.7 4.4 1.7 1.5

2002

4.3 -2.5 1.7 2.3 -1.9 0.7

2003

3.7 -0.6 3.1 3.7 0.1 1.4

2004

3.0 1.3 4.3 4.6 1.5 1.8

2005

2.2 1.7 3.9 3.7 1.4 0.3

2006

1.0 2.3 3.3 3.8 2.8 0.6

2007

1.6 0.7 2.3 4.3 2.7 1.5

2008

1.3 -2.1 -0.9 2.9 1.6 -0.9

2009

3.6 -7.1 -3.9 0.9 -2.5 1.3

2010

3.4 -0.1 3.3 1.9 -1.5 0.2

2011

0.0 2.0 2.0 2.2 2.2 -0.9

2012

1.0 2.3 3.3 2.7 1.6 0.5

2013

0.5 1.7 2.2 1.3 0.7 -0.2

2014

0.7 2.3 3.0 2.8 2.1 1.1

2015

1.2 2.1 3.4 3.1 1.9 3.0

2016

0.4 1.4 1.8 1.1 0.7 -0.2

2017

1.2 1.5 2.7 3.5 2.3 1.4

2018

1.5 2.0 3.5 3.4 1.9 0.9

2019

2.0 0.7 2.7 3.8 1.8 2.0

2020

2.4 -6.6 -4.4 7.0 4.5 5.6

2021

1.9 5.4 7.4 5.2 3.3 0.5

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 3.3 percent in 2021, reflecting increases of 5.2 percent in hourly compensation and 1.9 percent in productivity. Real hourly compensation, which considers changes in consumer prices, increased 0.5 percent in 2021; consumer prices grew 4.7 percent in 2021, which was the highest annual growth rate since a 4.9 percent increase in 1990.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program and are subject to revision. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs — Fourth Quarter and Annual Averages 2021, Preliminary." 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 sector productivity grew 1.9 percent in 2021 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/nonfarm-business-sector-productivity-grew-1-9-percent-in-2021.htm (visited December 08, 2022).