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Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing Industries News Release

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, June 11, 2021                                              USDL-21-1020

Technical information: 	(202) 691-5606    productivity@bls.gov   www.bls.gov/lpc 
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902    PressOffice@bls.gov


                               PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS BY INDUSTRY
                           SELECTED SERVICE-PROVIDING INDUSTRIES - 2020


Labor productivity fell in 13 of 29 selected service-providing industries in 2020, the U.S. Bureau of 
Labor Statistics reported today. In 2019 labor productivity decreased in 14 of 29 industries. The 
economic downturn in 2020 resulted in output declines in 21 industries and hours worked declines in 24 
industries. More than twice as many industries experienced decreases in 2020 compared to 2019, when 
output fell in 8 industries and hours worked fell in 10 industries.

Trends in Labor Productivity in 2020

      Labor productivity fell in 13 of 29 industries in 2020.
      There were 3 industries where productivity fell more than 38 percent: Air transportation (-57.0 
       percent), travel arrangement and reservation services (-44.7 percent), and amusement parks and 
       arcades (-38.5 percent). In all 3 of those industries, output fell more than 55 percent.
      Productivity increased in 5 industries where declines in hours worked exceeded the decrease in 
       output. In all of those industries, output fell more than 10 percent.
      Hours worked fell in 24 of the 29 industries.
      Hours worked decreased in 14 out of the 16 industries which recorded increases in productivity.
       Of these, the largest declines in hours worked were in gambling industries (-32.8 percent), 
       drycleaning and laundry services (-19.5 percent), and line-haul railroads (-16.3 percent); the 
       other 11 industries had hours worked declines of 11.7 percent or less. 

Unit labor costs increased in 21 industries in 2020. Productivity fell in 13 of the industries with a rise 
in unit labor costs. Changes in labor productivity counter the impact of changes in hourly compensation on 
unit labor costs facing employers. In all 8 industries where both unit labor costs and productivity 
increased, hourly compensation also increased and by a faster rate than productivity.

Trends in Unit Labor Costs in 2020

      The largest increases in unit labor costs were in air transportation (106.9 percent), 
       amusement parks and arcades (76.4 percent), and travel arrangement and reservation 
       services (73.7 percent). Productivity fell by more than 38 percent in all 3 of those industries.
      Unit labor costs rose alongside a drop in productivity in 13 industries. Of the 16 industries 
       where productivity went up, unit labor costs increased in half and decreased in the other half. 
       There were no industries where both unit labor costs and productivity declined.
      Hourly compensation rose in 23 of the 29 industries measured. 

Long term productivity rose in 45 out of 58 service-providing industries. For the majority of 
industries studied, this period extends from 1987 to 2019, the latest year for which data are 
available for all 58 selected service-providing industries published on the BLS website. None of 
the rates in this section incorporate data for 2020.

Trends in Long Term Productivity

      Median long term productivity growth for all 58 industries was approximately 1.4 percent 
       per year.
      Output increased over the long term in 45 industries while hours worked increased in 38 
       industries.
      Productivity increased in 43 of the 58 industries in the period from 2007 to 2019 that began 
       with a severe recession. During this period, only 41 industries had increases in output and 27 
       experienced growth in hours worked. 


Additional Information

The productivity and costs measures in this release incorporate data from the Census Bureau's Service 
Annual Survey (December 2020) and Nonemployer Statistics (May 2020). Accordingly, the labor 
productivity and output series for all industries have been revised for 2019 and earlier years.

The COVID-19 pandemic did not impact the availability of source data used to construct productivity 
measures in this release. Data source providers continued to collect and publish high quality industry 
data for 2020. Additional information can be found on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-
of-covid-19-pandemic-on-productivity-and-costs-statistics.htm#Industry-Productivity.

The following NAICS codes are included in Table 1 but not counted in the short-term count of 29 
selected industries because they are duplicate codes or aggregates for which full underlying coverage is 
published:  22, 221, 484, 4841, 4911, 4931, 511, 5111, 515, 5173, 54121, 722, 722511, and 722513,4,5.

The following NAICS codes are included in Table 2 but not counted in the long-term count of 58 
selected industries because they are duplicate codes or aggregates for which full underlying coverage is 
published:  22, 221, 484, 4841, 4842, 491, 493, 4931, 511, 5111, 515, 5151, 5173, 5412, 54121, 5615, 
6215, 6221,3, 7131, 72, 721, 7211, 722, 72251, 8121, and 8123.

Access the productivity data dashboard at www.bls.gov/lpc/lpc_by_industry_dashboard.xlsx for
      Additional industries and sectors
      Detailed data series: indexes of productivity and related measures; rates of change; and levels of 
       industry employment, hours worked, nominal value of production, and labor compensation 
      Additional years and long-term data

Subscribe to productivity news releases on the BLS website at 
https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOLBLS/subscriber/new.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice 
phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.
	

 



                                       Technical Note

Labor Productivity:  Labor productivity describes the relationship between real output and the 
labor hours involved in its production. These measures show the changes from period to period in 
the amount of goods and services produced per hour worked. Although the labor productivity 
measures relate output in an industry to hours worked of all persons in that industry, they do not 
measure the specific contribution of labor to growth in output. Rather, they reflect the joint effects 
of many influences, including: changes in technology; capital investment; utilization of capacity, 
energy, and materials; the use of purchased services inputs, including contract employment 
services; the organization of production; the characteristics and effort of the workforce; and 
managerial skill.

Unit Labor Costs:  Unit labor costs represent the cost of labor required to produce one unit of 
output. The unit labor cost indexes are computed by dividing an index of nominal industry labor 
compensation by an index of real industry output. Unit labor costs also describe the relationship 
between compensation per hour and real output per hour (labor productivity). Increases in hourly 
compensation increase unit labor costs; increases in labor productivity offset compensation 
increases and reduce unit labor costs.

Output:  Real industry output is measured as an annual-weighted index of the changes in the 
various products (in real terms) provided for sale outside the industry. Real industry output is 
usually derived by deflating nominal sales or values of production using BLS price indexes, but for 
some industries it is measured by physical quantities of output. 

Industry output measures are constructed primarily using data from the economic censuses and 
annual surveys of the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, together with 
information on price changes from BLS. Other data sources include: the Energy Information 
Administration, U.S. Department of Energy; the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. 
Department of Transportation; the U.S. Postal Service; the Postal Rate Commission; and the 
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Data from the Quarterly Service Survey from the Census 
Bureau are used to construct preliminary output measures for 2020 for some industries. Data from 
both the Census Bureau's Quarterly Service Survey and Monthly Retail Trade Survey are used to 
construct preliminary output measures for 2020 for some industries.

Labor Hours:  Labor hours are measured as annual hours worked by all employed persons in an 
industry. Data on industry employment and hours come primarily from the BLS Current 
Employment Statistics (CES) survey and Current Population Survey (CPS). CES data on the 
number of total and production worker jobs held by wage and salary workers in nonfarm 
establishments are supplemented with CPS self-employed and unpaid family worker data to 
estimate industry employment. Hours worked estimates are derived using CES and CPS 
employment, CES data on the average weekly hours paid of production workers, CPS data on 
hours of nonproduction, self-employed, and unpaid family workers, and ratios of hours worked to 
hours paid based on data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS). For some industries, 
employment and hours data are supplemented or further disaggregated using data from the BLS 
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), the Census Bureau, or other sources. 
Additional sources of employment and hours data for certain service industries include the 
Association of American Railroads, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Postal 
Service. Hours worked are estimated separately for different types of workers and then are directly 
aggregated; no adjustments for labor composition are made.

Labor Compensation:  Labor compensation, defined as payroll plus supplemental payments, is a 
measure of the cost to the employer of securing the services of labor. Payroll includes salaries, 
wages, commissions, dismissal pay, bonuses, vacation and sick leave pay, and compensation in 
kind. Supplemental payments include both legally required expenditures and payments for 
voluntary programs. The legally required portion consists primarily of federal old age and 
survivors' insurance, unemployment compensation, and workers' compensation. Payments for 
voluntary programs include all programs not specifically required by legislation, such as the 
employer portion of private health insurance and pension plans. Industry compensation measures 
are constructed primarily using data from the economic censuses and annual surveys of the Census 
Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. The estimates for 2020 are constructed using data from 
the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).






Table 1. Recent labor productivity, unit labor costs, and related data
Industry 2017 NAICS code 2020
Employment
(thousands)
Percent change, 2019-2020
Labor productivity Unit labor costs Output Hours worked Labor compensation

Utilities

Utilities

22

542.0 -2.3 3.2 -2.8 -0.5 0.3

Utilities

221

542.0 -2.3 3.2 -2.8 -0.5 0.3

Power generation and supply

2211

380.8 -1.7 2.6 -2.5 -0.8 0.1

Natural gas distribution

2212

109.2 -5.2 5.0 -4.6 0.7 0.2

Water, sewage and other systems

2213

52.0 0.4 4.5 -0.7 -1.1 3.8

Transportation and Warehousing

Air transportation

481

460.5 -57.0 106.9 -60.4 -8.0 -18.1

Line-haul railroads

482111

137.9 19.4 -13.5 0.0 -16.3 -13.5

Truck transportation

484

1,689.3 0.6 1.5 -5.0 -5.6 -3.6

General freight trucking

4841

1,222.5 0.7 1.2 -4.1 -4.8 -3.0

General freight trucking, local

48411

333.9 4.5 -1.2 -0.6 -4.9 -1.8

General freight trucking, long-distance

48412

888.6 -0.2 1.7 -5.0 -4.8 -3.4

Specialized freight trucking

4842

466.8 1.1 1.6 -6.6 -7.6 -5.1

Postal service(1)

491

602.1 1.0 0.6 1.1 0.1 1.7

Postal service(1)

4911

602.1 1.0 0.6 1.1 0.1 1.7

Couriers and messengers

492

1,055.2 -10.5 7.3 11.3 24.3 19.4

Warehousing and storage

493

1,355.5 -7.2 15.0 2.3 10.2 17.6

Warehousing and storage

4931

1,355.5 -7.2 15.0 2.3 10.2 17.6

Information

Publishing

511

798.5 3.9 3.9 7.0 3.0 11.2

Newspaper, book, and directory publishers

5111

298.0 -4.8 9.9 -13.2 -8.9 -4.6

Newspaper publishers

51111

120.9 -3.5 8.2 -17.0 -14.0 -10.2

Periodical publishers

51112

84.4 -7.9 11.1 -13.6 -6.2 -4.0

Software publishers

5112

500.5 2.1 2.9 12.7 10.4 15.9

Broadcasting, except Internet

515

258.2 10.2 -6.7 0.1 -9.2 -6.6

Radio and television broadcasting

5151

206.6 17.2 -11.7 7.1 -8.6 -5.4

Cable and other subscription programming

5152

51.6 7.5 -4.9 -4.3 -11.0 -9.0

Wired and wireless telecommunications carriers

5173

607.6 2.0 2.1 -1.8 -3.8 0.2

Wired telecommunications carriers

517311

503.0 0.3 4.6 -3.5 -3.8 0.9

Wireless telecommunications carriers

517312

104.6 5.0 -2.9 0.7 -4.1 -2.2

Finance and Insurance

Commercial banking

52211

1,382.9 1.2 5.1 1.2 -0.1 6.4

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

Truck, trailer, and RV rental and leasing

53212

87.2 13.1 -4.1 -0.2 -11.7 -4.3

Professional and Technical Services

Accounting and bookkeeping services

5412

1,148.4 0.9 0.1 -1.1 -1.9 -1.0

Accounting and bookkeeping services

54121

1,148.4 0.9 0.1 -1.1 -1.9 -1.0

Engineering services

54133

1,050.8 -8.8 11.8 -9.1 -0.3 1.7

Administrative and Waste Services

Travel arrangement and reservation services

5615

194.2 -44.7 73.7 -55.9 -20.1 -23.3

Health Care and Social Assistance

Medical and diagnostic laboratories

6215

293.6 13.4 -10.5 9.2 -3.7 -2.3

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Amusement parks and arcades

7131

158.6 -38.5 76.4 -61.4 -37.3 -31.9

Gambling industries

7132

86.6 16.2 -8.1 -21.9 -32.8 -28.2

Accommodation and Food Services

Food services and drinking places

722

10,209.3 -4.7 4.5 -22.0 -18.1 -18.6

Restaurants and other eating places

72251

9,316.0 -1.8 1.1 -18.3 -16.8 -17.4

Full-service restaurants

722511

4,350.5 -8.2 5.2 -30.8 -24.6 -27.2

Limited-service eating places

722513,4,5

4,965.5 1.3 3.5 -7.4 -8.6 -4.2

Other Services

Automotive repair and maintenance

8111

1,093.8 -6.3 6.5 -10.0 -3.9 -4.1

Drycleaning and laundry services

8123

253.9 6.1 1.0 -14.6 -19.5 -13.7

Footnotes
(1) For NAICS industries 491 and 4911, average annual percent changes are for the fiscal year ending in September.







Table 2. Long run labor productivity, unit labor costs, and related data
Industry 2017 NAICS code 2019
Employment
(thousands)
Average annual percent change, 1987-2019
Labor productivity Unit labor costs Output Hours worked Labor compensation

Utilities

Utilities

22

549.4 2.2 1.5 1.4 -0.7 2.9

Utilities

221

549.4 2.2 1.5 1.4 -0.7 2.9

Power generation and supply

2211

386.0 2.9 0.8 1.9 -0.9 2.7

Natural gas distribution

2212

110.1 1.2 3.0 0.3 -0.9 3.3

Water, sewage and other systems

2213

53.3 -1.7 4.8 0.7 2.4 5.5

Transportation and Warehousing

Air transportation

481

494.4 3.0 1.0 2.8 -0.2 3.8

Line-haul railroads

482111

158.8 3.4 -0.4 1.7 -1.7 1.3

Truck transportation(1)

484

1,763.5 0.8 1.0 2.2 1.4 3.3

General freight trucking(1)

4841

1,271.5 1.3 1.1 2.5 1.3 3.6

General freight trucking, local(1)

48411

341.2 2.8 0.1 4.0 1.2 4.1

General freight trucking, long-distance

48412

930.3 1.3 0.6 2.4 1.0 3.0

Specialized freight trucking(2)

4842

492.0 1.0 1.8 2.2 1.2 4.1

Used household and office goods moving

48421

100.9 -0.8 2.8 -0.3 0.5 2.5

Other specialized trucking, local(2)

48422

246.8 0.6 2.2 2.2 1.7 4.5

Other specialized trucking, long-distance(2)

48423

144.3 1.9 1.2 3.6 1.7 4.8

Postal service(3)

491

607.2 0.0 3.2 -0.7 -0.6 2.5

Postal service(3)

4911

607.2 0.0 3.2 -0.7 -0.6 2.5

Couriers and messengers

492

883.6 -2.3 3.5 0.7 3.1 4.2

Warehousing and storage(1)

493

1,238.8 1.3 0.5 5.7 4.4 6.2

Warehousing and storage(1)

4931

1,238.8 1.3 0.5 5.7 4.4 6.2

General warehousing and storage(1)

49311

1,106.8 2.3 -0.2 7.0 4.6 6.8

Refrigerated warehousing and storage(1)

49312

67.2 0.5 1.1 3.6 3.0 4.7

Information

Publishing

511

795.8 4.3 1.3 4.0 -0.3 5.3

Newspaper, book, and directory publishers

5111

329.8 0.2 3.9 -2.8 -2.9 1.0

Newspaper publishers

51111

145.1 -0.5 3.8 -4.3 -3.9 -0.6

Periodical publishers

51112

90.2 -0.1 4.4 -1.8 -1.7 2.6

Book publishers

51113

59.8 -0.1 4.5 -1.1 -1.0 3.3

Software publishers

5112

466.0 10.7 -5.2 17.5 6.1 11.3

Motion picture and video exhibition

51213

149.0 1.1 2.4 1.5 0.4 4.0

Broadcasting, except Internet

515

278.0 3.0 1.4 3.0 0.0 4.4

Radio and television broadcasting

5151

222.0 2.2 1.4 1.9 -0.3 3.4

Radio broadcasting

51511

84.9 3.6 1.2 2.4 -1.2 3.6

Cable and other subscription programming

5152

56.0 4.9 2.5 6.2 1.2 8.9

Wired and wireless telecommunications carriers

5173

631.4 6.6 -2.6 5.7 -0.9 2.9

Wired telecommunications carriers

517311

523.7 3.8 -0.2 2.4 -1.4 2.2

Wireless telecommunications carriers

517312

107.7 12.0 -6.7 17.6 5.0 9.7

Finance and Insurance

Commercial banking

52211

1,392.8 2.8 2.2 2.7 -0.1 4.9

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

Passenger car rental

532111

128.4 2.0 1.7 3.0 1.0 4.8

Truck, trailer, and RV rental and leasing

53212

91.4 2.2 1.1 3.2 1.0 4.4

Video tape and disc rental

532282

7.3 5.6 -0.8 -3.6 -8.7 -4.4

Professional and Technical Services

Accounting and bookkeeping services(4)

5412

1,186.3 2.0 1.7 2.7 0.7 4.4

Accounting and bookkeeping services(4)

54121

1,186.3 2.0 1.7 2.7 0.7 4.4

Offices of certified public accountants(4)

541211

505.4 2.1 2.0 3.1 1.1 5.2

Tax preparation services

541213

137.7 0.6 2.4 1.9 1.4 4.4

Other accounting services(4)

541219

366.2 3.3 -0.4 3.4 0.1 2.9

Architectural services

54131

216.0 1.5 1.8 2.7 1.2 4.5

Engineering services

54133

1,047.4 1.0 2.8 2.7 1.7 5.6

Advertising agencies

54181

227.6 2.0 1.8 2.6 0.6 4.5

Photography studios, portrait

541921

52.3 1.4 1.2 1.6 0.2 2.8

Veterinary services(5)

54194

418.7 -1.2 4.7 1.5 2.7 6.2

Administrative and Waste Services

Employment placement and executive search(6)

56131

299.8 4.2 0.0 5.1 0.9 5.2

Travel arrangement and reservation services(4)

5615

248.1 7.1 -2.0 5.1 -1.8 3.0

Travel agencies

56151

107.3 7.4 -2.1 6.1 -1.2 3.9

Janitorial services

56172

1,374.1 2.6 0.9 4.1 1.5 5.0

Health Care and Social Assistance

Medical and diagnostic laboratories(6)

6215

298.7 2.1 0.6 5.0 2.9 5.7

Medical laboratories(6)

621511

211.5 2.0 0.5 5.0 2.9 5.5

Diagnostic imaging centers(6)

621512

87.2 2.2 0.9 5.1 2.8 6.0

Hospitals, except psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals(7)

6221,3

5001.7 0.3 3.2 1.8 1.5 5.1

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Amusement parks and arcades(8)

7131

228.0 0.7 4.6 0.4 -0.3 5.1

Amusement and theme parks

71311

195.4 0.1 4.1 1.8 1.7 5.9

Gambling industries(4)

7132

124.9 2.2 2.0 1.7 -0.4 3.8

Golf courses and country clubs(2)

71391

386.5 -1.1 4.2 -0.1 1.0 4.1

Fitness and recreational sports centers(2)

71394

707.4 3.7 -0.2 4.3 0.6 4.1

Bowling centers

71395

71.8 0.6 2.6 -0.8 -1.4 1.8

Accommodation and Food Services

Accommodation and food services

72

14,407.4 0.8 2.7 2.4 1.6 5.1

Accommodation

721

2,116.0 1.9 1.9 2.7 0.8 4.6

Traveler accommodation

7211

2,024.2 1.9 1.8 2.8 0.8 4.7

Hotels and motels, except casino hotels

72111

1,698.2 1.3 2.6 2.1 0.8 4.7

Food services and drinking places

722

12,291.4 0.5 3.0 2.2 1.7 5.3

Special food services

7223

873.8 1.0 1.7 2.4 1.3 4.1

Drinking places, alcoholic beverages

7224

417.2 -0.5 3.3 -0.1 0.4 3.2

Restaurants and other eating places

72251

11,000.4 0.5 3.2 2.4 1.8 5.6

Full-service restaurants

722511

5,573.4 0.7 3.5 2.4 1.7 5.9

Limited-service eating places

722513,4,5

5,427.0 0.4 2.8 2.4 2.0 5.3

Other Services

Automotive repair and maintenance

8111

1,163.3 1.2 2.1 1.6 0.4 3.7

Reupholstery and furniture repair

81142

22.4 -1.5 4.3 -3.0 -1.5 1.2

Personal care services

8121

1,314.9 2.2 1.7 3.5 1.2 5.2

Hair, nail, and skin care services

81211

1,079.3 2.1 1.7 3.1 1.0 4.9

Funeral homes and funeral services

81221

112.3 -0.4 4.1 -0.5 -0.1 3.5

Drycleaning and laundry services

8123

305.9 1.9 1.6 1.0 -0.8 2.6

Coin-operated laundries and drycleaners

81231

42.9 2.2 2.2 0.3 -1.9 2.5

Drycleaning and laundry services (except coin-operated)

81232

129.2 0.7 2.2 -1.3 -2.0 0.9

Linen and uniform supply

81233

133.8 2.1 1.0 3.1 0.9 4.1

Photofinishing

81292

9.1 2.0 2.4 -4.8 -6.7 -2.6

Footnotes
(1) For NAICS industries 484, 4841, 48411, 493, 4931, 49311, and 49312, average annual percent changes are for 1992-2019.
(2) For NAICS industries 4842, 48422, 48423, 71391, and 71394, average annual percent changes are for 2002-2019.
(3) For NAICS industries 491 and 4911, average annual percent changes are for the fiscal year ending in September.
(4) For NAICS industries 5412, 54121, 541211, 541219, 5615, and 7132, average annual percent changes are for 1997-2019.
(5) For NAICS industry 54194, average annual percent changes are for 2004-2019.
(6) For NAICS industries 56131, 6215, 621511, and 621512, average annual percent changes are for 1994-2019.
(7) For NAICS industry 6221,3, average annual percent changes are for 1993-2018. Employment is for 2018.
(8) For NAICS industry 7131, average annual percent changes are for 2007-2019.


Last Modified Date: June 11, 2021