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Industry Productivity Measures: Collections & Data Sources

Industry Productivity Studies collects data from a variety of different sources. For almost all industries, output is measured using a different source than inputs (capital, labor, and intermediate purchases).


Output indexes are prepared using data published by various public and private agencies, at the most detailed level possible. The economic censuses and annual surveys of the U.S. Census Bureau are the primary sources of revenue data used in developing deflated value output measures. Price data from either the BLS Producer Price Index (PPI) or BLS Consumer Price Index (CPI) programs, are used to deflate current dollar values into constant dollars. Data for physical quantity output measures come from a number of data sources, including the U.S. Departments of Energy, Interior, and Transportation, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the U.S. Postal Service. Data from trade associations also are used for some industries.

Most industries use the following sources of value of production:

  • Manufacturing industries: The U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufactures and Census of Manufactures.
  • Retail trade industries and food services and drinking places: The U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Retail Trade Survey and the Census of Retail Trade.
  • Wholesale trade industries: The U.S. Census Bureau’s Monthly and Annual Wholesale Trade Surveys and the Census of Wholesale Trade.
  • Service-providing industries: The U.S. Census Bureau’s Service Annual Survey and Census of Service Industries.

Hours worked

Data on worker hours come primarily from the BLS Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey and Current Population Survey (CPS). CES data on the number of total jobs and production worker jobs held by wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments are supplemented with CPS data on self-employed and unpaid family workers to estimate total worker hours for each industry. CES data on the average weekly hours paid of production workers are supplemented with CPS data on hours of nonproduction, self-employed, and unpaid family workers. Ratios of hours worked to hours paid are developed using data from the National Compensation Survey (NCS). These ratios are applied to the CES and CPS data to develop total hours worked for all classes of workers. For some industries, hours-worked data are supplemented or further disaggregated using data from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), the Census Bureau, or other sources.

Although the hours worked of all persons are usually based on CES and CPS survey data, estimates for some industries are derived from other sources. Estimates for industries in the farm sector are made using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and measures for industries in the nonfarm agriculture sector are created primarily using data from the QCEW and the CPS. For mining industries, estimates of nonproduction worker hours are derived from data collected by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. For the air transportation industry, hours-worked measures are calculated with data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), U.S. Department of Transportation. For line-haul railroads, hours-worked measures are derived with data from the Surface Transportation Board (STB), U.S. Department of Transportation, and supplemented with data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR). CES provides employment data of postal service employees, and the U.S. Postal Service provides the hours data.

Labor compensation

For most service-providing, trade, and mining industries, labor compensation is derived using annual wage data from the QCEW published by BLS, along with data on employer costs for supplemental benefits from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). For manufacturing and some service-providing industries, annual payroll and supplemental benefit data from the Census Bureau are used.


For manufacturing industries, amounts of investment for broad categories of capital assets are derived using annual capital expenditures from the economic censuses and annual surveys of the U.S. Census Bureau. Additional detailed asset investment data comes from the fixed asset accounts from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Annual investment data are supplemented with more detailed benchmark data from BEA’s capital flow table and the Census Bureau’s Annual Capital Expenditures Survey. Price deflators for each asset category are constructed by combining detailed price indexes (mostly BLS producer price indexes) with weights that reflect each industry’s use of individual asset commodities.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) provides annual quantities of airframes and engines which comprise a large portion of capital stock in the air transportation industry. For assets other than airframes and engines, detailed annual expenditures on equipment and structures from the BEA is used. Inventories of parts and supplies from BTS are also included; the current dollar series is deflated with a weighted cost index based on data from Airlines for America (A4A) and BTS.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) and Amtrak provide current dollar investment data for 10 categories of capital equipment and 13 categories of structures within line-haul railroads. Capital investment is deflated with either BLS PPIs or deflators based on BEA data.  Estimates of investments in land from the STB and Amtrak are deflated with price indexes from BEA. 

Intermediate purchases

Intermediate purchases include the nominal values of materials, fuels, and electricity consumed by industry. For manufacturing industries, these values, along with quantities of electricity, are obtained from economic censuses and annual surveys conducted by the Census Bureau. Purchased business services are estimated using annual industry data and benchmark input-output tables from Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Price deflators for detailed material and service commodities are primarily based on PPIs, but also based on prices from the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, and Interior.

For air transportation, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics data on cost of materials, services, fuels, and electricity are deflated using cost indexes from Airlines for America. For line-haul railroads, estimates of intermediate purchases from the Surface Transportation Board are supplemented with data from other sources, including the Association of American Railroads, Amtrak, U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the Edison Electric Institute. The nominal values are deflated with PPIs from BLS and implicit price deflators from BEA.

Last Modified Date: August 08, 2017