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June, 1987, Vol. 110, No. 6
The mining machinery industry:
labor productivity trends, 1972-84
Productivity, as measured by output per employee hour, in the mining machinery industry declined at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent from 1972 to 1984.1 (See table 1.) This trend was substantially below the rate for the manufacturing sector, which grew at a rate of 2.0 percent during this period. Since 1972, the mining machinery industry has introduced new technology and work methods. However, major shifts in demand for coal have created wide variability in capacity utilization rates. Periods of both strained and excess supplies of coal have resulted in low productivity in mining machinery.
The decline in productivity was accompanied by a drop in output of 3.3 percent and a decline in employee hours of 2.2 percent. Although the productivity trend was negative, there was significant year-to-year variation. Many of the annual movements were associated with changes in output. In 5 of the 6 years that output advanced, there were increases in productivity. Similarly, productivity declined in 4 of the 6 years that output fell.
From 1972 to 1974, productivity in the mining machinery industry advanced nearly 12 percent, as output surged 35 percent. Over the following 2 years, productivity declined by 9 percent as employment in the industry increased substantially. From 1972 to 1976, employee hours increased more than 50 percent.
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1 Average annual rates of change are based on the linear least squares trend of the logarithms of the index numbers. The mining machinery and equipment industry is designated industry 3532 in the Standard Industrial Classification Manual, 1972 Edition, issued by the Office of Management and Budget. The industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in the manufacture of heavy machinery and equipment used by the mining industries, such as coal breakers, mine cars, mineral cleaning machinery, concentration machinery, core drills, coal cutters, portable rock drills, and rock crushing machinery. The mining machinery industry excludes establishments primarily engaged in the manufacture of well drilling machinery and of coal and ore conveyors, which are classified in industries 3533 and 3535.
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