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Economic News Release
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Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing Industries, 2018

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, May 23, 2019                                                    USDL-19-0858

Technical information:  (202) 691-5606 
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902

                                          PRODUCTIVITY AND COSTS BY INDUSTRY
                                     SELECTED SERVICE-PROVIDING INDUSTRIES - 2018

Labor productivity rose in 18 of 28 selected service-providing industries in 2018, the U.S. Bureau of 
Labor Statistics reported today. This was similar to 2017, when labor productivity increased in 19 of 28 
industries. Output increased in 21 industries in 2018, while hours worked increased in 15 industries.  

Trends in Labor Productivity in 2018

      Labor productivity increased in 18 of 28 industries in 2018. Among those with increasing productivity, 
       output grew in 15 industries and hours worked grew in 7 industries.
      Productivity gains of at least 7.0 percent occurred in 4 industries: natural gas distribution (13.5 
       percent), drycleaning and laundry services (10.9 percent), wireless telecommunications carriers 
       (10.1 percent), and travel arrangement and reservation services (7.3 percent). In all 4 of these 
       industries, output increases coincided with declines in hours worked.
      Hours worked grew in 15 of the 28 industries.
      Hours worked increased in 8 industries which recorded declines in productivity. Of these, the 
       largest gains in hours worked were in warehousing and storage (10.4 percent), automotive 
       repair and maintenance (4.6 percent), and couriers and messengers (4.4 percent). 

Unit labor costs declined in 8 industries in 2018. Each of the industries with a decline in unit labor costs 
also recorded an increase in productivity. Increases in labor productivity counter the impact of rising 
hourly compensation on unit labor costs facing employers.

Trends in Unit Labor Costs in 2018

      The largest declines in unit labor costs were in natural gas distribution (-9.7 percent) and 
       wireless telecommunications carriers (-7.9 percent). In both industries, productivity grew 
       substantially more than hourly compensation.
      All unit labor cost declines occurred in industries where productivity rose. 
      Each of the industries where productivity fell also recorded an increase in unit labor costs. 
      Hourly compensation rose in all of the 28 industries measured. 

Long Term Productivity Trends 

      Over the long term, productivity rose in 45 out of 58 service-providing industries. For the 
       majority of the industries studied, this period extends from 1987 to 2017. 
      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 
      Productivity increased in 40 of the 58 industries in the period from 2007 to 2017 that began with 
       a severe recession. During this period, only 37 industries had increases in output and 26 
       experienced growth in hours worked. 

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* Access more productivity data using the data dashboard,                                                  *
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*      - 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                                                               *
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* More information from the BLS productivity program is available at                      *
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* Additional information can be obtained by calling the BLS productivity program at (202) 691-5606 or by   *
* sending an email to 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.   *
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Last Modified Date: May 23, 2019