High-tech productivity gains in 1990s

May 14, 2002

The high-tech manufacturing sector experienced rapid growth in output per hour throughout the 1990s. The rate of growth accelerated sharply in the second half of the decade.

Labor productivity and related measures for high-tech industries, 1990-95 and 1995-99
[Chart data—TXT]

From 1990 to 1995, labor productivity growth averaged 9.6 percent per year. This strong growth reflected a decline in hours worked combined with output growth averaging 5.5 percent per year.

The decline in hours reversed after 1995. Even after the reversal in hours, productivity growth accelerated to 13.1 percent per year from 1995 through 1999 as output growth raced ahead.

These productivity data are products of the Industry Productivity program. The 10 industries identified as "high-tech intensive" for the purposes of this study were Standard Industrial Classifications 281, 283, 286, 357, 366, 367, 372, 376, 381, and 382. The selection was based on ratios of research and development workers and technology-oriented workers that are at least 5 times the average for all industries. For more information, see Christopher Kask and Edward Sieber, "Productivity in "high-tech" manufacturing industries," Monthly Labor Review, March 2002.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, High-tech productivity gains in 1990s on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2002/may/wk2/art02.htm (visited September 27, 2016).


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