Declines in labor costs among manufacturing industries

November 24, 2000

Between 1997 and 1998, unit labor costs declined in 65 of 119 manufacturing industries measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Percent changes in unit labor costs, selected manufacturing industries, 1997-98
[Chart data—TXT]

The computer and office equipment industry experienced the largest drop in unit labor costs in 1998 (-29.2 percent). Other manufacturing industries with double-digit drops in labor costs were electronic components and accessories (-18.5 percent), aircraft and parts (-17.5 percent), and industrial inorganic chemicals (-14.7 percent).

Unit labor costs—the cost of the labor input required to produce one unit of output—are computed by dividing total compensation by real output.

This information is from the Industry Productivity Program. Additional information is available from "Productivity and Costs: Manufacturing Industries, 1990-98" news release USDL 00-335.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Declines in labor costs among manufacturing industries on the Internet at (visited September 20, 2014).


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