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March, 1986, Vol. 109, No. 3
Beauty and barber shops:
the trend of labor productivity
Output per hour of persons employed in the beauty and barber shop industries rose at an average annual rate of 0.8 percent between 1972 and 1984.1 Other industries with a high personal service component show roughly comparable trend rates, including the hotel and motel industry.
Output of beauty and barber shops remained virtually unchanged between 1972 and 1984, while hours dipped 0.6 percent a year. (See table 1.) The comparative weakness in output and hours was linked to sharp contractions in the number of barber shops. Beauty shops recorded some gains in output and a small long-term rise in hours.2
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1 The two industries for which productivity is discussed here have been designated as
SIC 723 (beauty shops) and SIC 724 (barber shops) in the Office of Management and Budget's Standard Industrial Classification Manual, 1972. Beauty shops are primarily engaged in beauty services; barber shops are primarily engaged in furnishing barber and men's hair styling services. Combination beauty and barber shops are classified as
SIC 723. Beauty schools and barber schools are included in the respective industries.
A separate productivity measure for barber shops has not been published because of the limited reliability of employment data.
Average annual rates of change are based on the linear least squares trends of the logarithms of the index numbers. The measures of productivity will be updated and included in the annual BLS bulletin, Productivity Measures for Selected Industries.
2 For an earlier study of productivity in beauty and barber shops, see Jean Alexander Wilburn, "A Contrast in Productivity Trends Within Personal Services: The Beauty and Barber Shop Industries," in Victor R. Fuchs and Jean Alexander Wilburn, Productivity Differences Within the Service Sector (New York, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1967). pp. 55-109. The study covered the 1939-63 period, but used census-year rather than annual data. The Wilburn study and BLS findings compare average annual rates of change, in percent, for 1939-63 and 1972-82.
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