Productivity in retail, wholesale, food services, and mining industries, 2013

August 13, 2014

In 2013, among major-sector industries, labor productivity (defined as output per hour) rose 8.5 percent in mining, 2.3 percent in wholesale trade and 5.0 percent in retail trade, but fell 2.4 percent in food services and drinking places. Among the 20 largest (by employment) detailed industries, clothing stores recorded the largest productivity increase at 10.5 percent and special food services saw the largest productivity decrease (−9.3 percent) in 2013.

Percent change in labor productivity (output per hour) in the largest detailed industries, by employment, 2012–2013
IndustryPercent change2013 employment

Clothing stores


Electronics and appliance stores


Automobile dealers


Department stores


Machinery and supplies wholesalers


Commercial equipment wholesalers


Building material and supplies dealers


Electronic markets and agents and brokers


Sporting goods and musical instrument stores


Grocery and related products wholesalers


Grocery stores


Limited-service eating places


Miscellaneous nondurable goods wholesalers


Health and personal care stores


Other general merchandise stores


Gasoline stations


Full-service restaurants


Drinking places (alcoholic beverages)


Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores


Special food services


In wholesale trade, productivity grew 2.8 percent in durable goods wholesalers and 1.9 percent in nondurable goods wholesalers. Productivity increased in 12 of the 19 detailed wholesale trade industries, while output rose in 16 industries and hours grew in 14. Among the largest detailed industries within wholesale trade, productivity increased the most in machinery and supplies wholesalers (6.6 percent) and commercial equipment wholesalers (3.2 percent).

In retail trade, labor productivity grew 5.0 percent, while output rose 4.6 percent and hours fell 0.4 percent. The following large detailed industries recorded productivity increases of 8.0 percent or more: clothing stores, electronics and appliance stores, automobile dealers, and department stores. Productivity increased in 22 of the 27 detailed retail trade industries in 2013, as output grew in 23 industries and hours rose in 17. 

In food services and drinking places, labor productivity declined 2.4 percent, as output grew 0.6 percent and hours rose 3.0 percent. Productivity and output fell in three of the four detailed industries in this sector, while hours grew in three. Limited-service eating places was the only industry in this sector to record an increase in productivity, output, and hours.

In mining, labor productivity increased 8.5 percent, while output grew 8.4 percent and hours fell slightly. Productivity increased in all four of the detailed mining industries for which data are available (no mining industries were among the largest). Output rose in three industries and hours declined in four. The largest productivity increase was in the oil and gas extraction industry. 

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Mining, Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places Industries, 2013" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-14-1430. The industry labor productivity measures describe the relationship between industry output and the labor time involved in its production. They show the changes from period to period in the amount of goods and services produced per hour.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity in retail, wholesale, food services, and mining industries, 2013 on the Internet at (visited December 01, 2015).


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