Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing and Mining Industries, 2011

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, May 29, 2013		USDL-13-1041

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                           PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS BY INDUSTRY:

Labor productivity – defined as output per hour – rose in 63 percent of the 52 service-providing and 
mining industries studied in 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was down 
from 67 percent in 2010. Unit labor costs, which reflect the total labor costs required to produce a unit 
of output, declined in 35 percent of the industries in 2011, compared to 44 percent in 2010. 

More industries recorded gains in output and in hours in 2011 than in the previous year. Output rose in 
37 of the 52 service-providing and mining industries studied in 2011, an increase from 32 industries in 
2010. Hours rose in 29 of the industries in 2011 compared to 14 in 2010. Both output and hours rose in 
more industries in 2011 than in any year since 2006.

Unit labor costs fell in 17 of 47 service-providing industries in 2011, down from 23 industries in 2010, 
but in only 1 of the 5 mining industries. Unit labor costs declined more frequently in industries where 
productivity rose, as productivity gains offset movements in hourly compensation. Almost 90 percent of 
the industries with declines in unit labor costs in 2011 posted gains in productivity.

Industry labor productivity measures are updated and revised as data become available. The latest 
productivity measures for service-providing and mining industries and industries in other sectors are 
available on the BLS Labor Productivity and Costs web site at

Service-Providing Industries: Output per hour increased in 2011 in 32 of the 47 industries studied. In 
most of these industries, productivity rose as output growth was accompanied by declines or more 
modest increases in hours. Several industries posted double-digit productivity gains as a result: wireless 
telecommunications carriers; passenger car rental; photography studios, portrait; and photofinishing.  

In a few industries, productivity rose as declining output was met with even greater reductions in hours: 
postal service; couriers and messengers; video tape and disc rental; tax preparation services; drinking 
places (alcoholic beverages); reupholstery and furniture repair; and coin-operated laundries and 

Mining Industries: Output per hour declined in four of the five detailed mining industries studied in 
2011, as hours rose while output fell or grew more slowly. Only nonmetallic mineral mining and 
quarrying posted a productivity increase. The overall mining sector experienced a double-digit decline in 
productivity, as labor hours increased more than four times as much as output.

Among the 20 largest service-providing and mining industries, automotive repair and maintenance 
recorded the largest productivity increase, as output growth was accompanied by a modest decrease in 
hours. Productivity fell the most in power generation and supply, where hours rose while output 

Long-Term Trends

More industries posted productivity gains over the 1987-2011 period than in 2011. Between 1987 and 
2011, labor productivity increased in 85 percent of the detailed service-providing and mining industries, 
with over 70 percent of industries recording average annual productivity growth between 0.1 and 4.0 
percent per year. In 2011, only 27 percent of industries recorded productivity growth in that range. 
Industry productivity performance in 2011 was more widely distributed, with 37 percent of industries 
posting productivity declines and 37 percent posting productivity gains of 4.1 percent or more.

The measures in this news release incorporate data from the 2011 Service Annual Survey published by 
the Census Bureau, as well as the March 2013 annual benchmark revision of the BLS Current 
Employment Statistics (CES) survey. All of the measures for 2011 in this release are preliminary and 
subject to revision. The industries included in this release are classified according to the 2007 NAICS. 
While the rates of change reported in this news release are rounded to one decimal place, all industry 
productivity percent changes are calculated using index numbers rounded to three decimal places.

Year-to-year movements in industry productivity may be erratic, particularly in smaller industries. The 
annual measures based on sample data may differ from measures generated by a census of 
establishments in the industry. Annual changes in an industry’s output and use of labor may reflect 
cyclical changes in the economy as well as long-term trends.  As a result, long-term productivity trends 
tend to be more reliable indicators of industry performance than year-to-year changes.

Customers can subscribe to the industry productivity program’s news releases on the BLS website at More detailed data, including 
indexes, annual rates of change, and levels are available on the Labor Productivity and Costs web site at Additional information is available by calling the Division of Industry Productivity 
Studies (202-691-5618) or by sending a request by email to Information in this report 
will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5618; TDD 
message referral phone number: 1-800-877-8339.

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Last Modified Date: May 29, 2013