Productivity gains led by durables manufacturing

February 10, 1999

During 1998, increases in productivity, or output per hour worked, were higher than in 1997 in both the business and nonfarm business sectors. Manufacturing productivity increased 4.3 percent [revised to 4.2 percent on 3/10/99]—the third consecutive annual increase of more than four percent.

Annual changes in productivity, 1989-98
[Chart data—TXT]

Business sector productivity increased 2.3 percent [revised to 2.4 percent on 3/10/99] in 1998. The output of the business sector rose 4.6 percent and hours of all workers in the sector grew 2.2 percent in 1998. Similarly, productivity increased 2.2 percent in the nonfarm business sector during 1998, as output rose 4.6 percent and hours increased 2.4 percent.

Manufacturing productivity grew 4.3 percent in 1998 [revised to 4.2 percent on 3/10/99]; output rose 4.2 percent [revised to 4.1 percent on 3/10/99] and hours of all persons fell 0.1 percent. In durable goods manufacturing, productivity increased 6.8 percent in 1998, the largest such increase since 1971. That rise reflected an output increase of 7.0 percent and an increase in hours of 0.2 percent.

These data are a product of the BLS Quarterly Labor Productivity program. Additional information is available from news release USDL 99-32, "Productivity and Costs: Preliminary Fourth-Quarter Measures and Annual Averages, 1998." Yearly comparisons in this story are based on annual average productivity data.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity gains led by durables manufacturing on the Internet at (visited September 30, 2016).


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