Productivity and related cost measures are designed for use in economic analysis and public and private policy planning. The data are used to forecast and analyze changes in prices, wages, and technology. There are two primary types of productivity statistics:
Labor productivity measures output per hour of labor.
Multifactor productivity measures output per unit of combined inputs, which consist of labor and capital, and, in some cases, intermediate inputs such as fuel.
Video: What is Productivity?
Explore the meaning of productivity and learn how productivity growth can lead to improvements in our lives and the well-being of our nation.
Data on output per hour and unit labor costs are available for the U.S. business sector, the nonfarm business sector, and the manufacturing sector. These are the productivity statistics most often cited in the news. In addition, output per hour and unit labor costs are available for over 400 selected industries in manufacturing, mining, utilities, wholesale and retail trade, and services.
Multifactor productivity statistics are available for the U.S. business sector, the nonfarm business sector, the manufacturing sector, and 18 groups of manufacturing industries, 86 detailed manufacturing industries, railroad transportation, air transportation, and utilities.
The Division of Productivity Research and Program Development (DPRPD) conducts research to strengthen and improve existing productivity measurement concepts and techniques and understand the sources and effects of productivity and technological change on the economy.
International comparisons of output per hour and unit labor costs in manufacturing are available for about a dozen countries, including the United States. (Note that the International Labor Comparisons program has been discontinued.)