Productivity in wholesale trade, retail trade, and food services, 2009

September 07, 2010

Labor productivity (defined as output per hour) fell in wholesale trade, but rose in retail trade and in food services and drinking places, in 2009. Productivity changes were as follows: ‑3.3 percent in wholesale trade, 1.5 percent in retail trade, and 1.0 percent in food services and drinking places.

Percent change in output per hour, output, and hours, by industry, 2008 and 2009
[Chart data]

In comparison, labor productivity fell in each of the three sectors overall in 2008. However, both output and hours declined more rapidly in each of the sectors in 2009 than they did in 2008.

In wholesale trade, labor productivity fell 3.3 percent as output declined 10.1 percent and hours fell 7.1 percent. Output per hour rose in eight of the 19 detailed wholesale trade industries in 2009, compared with five in 2008.

In retail trade, labor productivity grew 1.5 percent while output and hours declined by 4.4 and 5.8 percent, respectively. Output per hour increased in 18 of the 27 detailed retail trade industries in 2009, compared with 12 in 2008.

In food services and drinking places, labor productivity rose 1.0 percent as output fell 2.5 percent and hours declined by 3.5 percent. Output per hour increased in three of the four detailed food services and drinking places industries in 2009, an improvement over 2008, when productivity grew in only one industry.

These data are from the Productivity and Costs program. Additional information can be found in "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places Industries, 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-1209.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity in wholesale trade, retail trade, and food services, 2009 on the Internet at (visited September 27, 2016).


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