Sharp decline in manufacturing labor costs in first quarter

June 06, 2002

Unit labor costs in the manufacturing sector fell at an annual rate of 6.4 percent (seasonally adjusted) in the first quarter of 2002.

Percent change in unit labor costs, manufacturing, seasonally adjusted, 2000 II-2002 I (percent change from previous quarter at annual rate)
[Chart data—TXT]

This decline in unit labor costs resulted from a combination of a 9.4-percent rise in manufacturing productivity and a 2.4-percent increase in hourly compensation. The last time unit labor costs fell this much in one quarter was in the second quarter of 1961, when they fell 6.9 percent.

Unit labor costs—the cost of the labor input required to produce one unit of output—are computed by dividing labor costs in nominal terms by real output. Unit labor costs can also be expressed as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity.

These data are a product of the BLS Productivity and Costs program. Data are subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Productivity and Costs, First Quarter 2002 (revised), (PDF) (TXT) news release USDL 02-318.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Sharp decline in manufacturing labor costs in first quarter on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2002/jun/wk1/art04.htm (visited August 29, 2016).

OF INTEREST

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.