The BLS produces several productivity measures for sectors of the U.S. economy.
Quarterly labor productivity measures are produced for the major U.S. economic sectors including the business sector, the nonfarm business sector, nonfinancial corporations, and manufacturing, along with subsectors of durable and nondurable goods manufacturing.
Indexes of annual total factor productivity are produced for the private business and private nonfarm business sectors of the economy and for the aggregate manufacturing sector, as well as for 18 3-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) manufacturing industries.
At a more detailed level, annual labor productivity and unit labor costs measures for detailed U.S. industries are available. We also calculate indexes of annual total factor productivity for 86 4-digit NAICS manufacturing industries, air transportation, and line-haul railroads.
Labor productivity and costs are also available on a state basis for the private nonfarm sector.
Indexes of labor productivity show changes in the ratio of output to hours of labor input. Total factor productivity measures relate output to two or more inputs, depending on the definition of the particular total factor productivity measure. This contrasts to labor productivity measures, which relate output to a single input, labor. These measures are used in economic analysis, public and private policymaking, and forecasting and analysis of prices, wages, and technological change.
Labor productivity measures should not be interpreted as presenting the contribution of labor to production. Rather, changes over time in output or labor input may reflect the influence of other factors including variations in the characteristics and efforts of the work-force, changes in managerial skill, changes in the organization of production, changes in the allocation of resources between sectors, the direct and indirect effects of research and development, and new technology.
Comparisons among total factor productivity measures must be made with an understanding of the underlying definitions used in constructing each measure. The total factor productivity measures produced by the Bureau use two distinct concepts of real output which are characterized as gross product originating and sectoral output. For private business, private nonfarm business, and international total factor productivity measures, a gross product originating measure is used. For manufacturing and industry total factor measures, a sectoral output measure is used.
Quarterly labor productivity measures are available for the following sectors:
Business and nonfarm business sectors; quarterly and annual measures from 1947 to present
Nonfinancial corporations; quarterly and annual measures from 1959 to present
Manufacturing sector; quarterly and annual measures from 1987 to present
Annual labor productivity measures for industries at the 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6- digit NAICS level are available from 1987 forward. Comprehensive coverage is available in mining, utilities, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, and accommodation and food services. Measures are also provided for selected industries in transportation and warehousing, information, finance and insurance, real estate and rental and leasing, professional and technical services, administrative and support services, health care and social services, and other services.
Annual total factor productivity indexes are available for the:
Private business and private nonfarm business sectors, from 1987.
Aggregate manufacturing and 18 3-digit NAICS manufacturing industries, from 1987.
4-digit NAICS manufacturing industries, air transportation, and line-haul railroads, from 1987.
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Aid economic policymakers in assessment of current economic activity and in economic analysis.
Aid Bureau of Economic Analysis in compiling compensation measures for National Income and Product Accounts.
Assessment of labor requirements.
Studies of relationships among productivity, wages, prices, and employment.
Aid in understanding sources of economic growth.
Basis for research on the sources of productivity advance and the identification of policy options which can affect the pace of productivity change.
Aid in understanding trends in output per hour of all persons.
Total factor productivity provides a more comprehensive productivity measure, supplementing existing economic indicators, that incorporates capital in addition to labor inputs.
Measures of total factor productivity are useful for analyzing trends in total costs and overall efficiency, and for studying the effects on labor productivity of changes in capital relative to labor and intermediate purchases relative to labor. Total factor measures are also useful for studying the utilization of the nonlabor inputs - capital and intermediate purchases - over time.