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Productivity Measures: Business Sector and Major Subsectors: Presentation

Indexes of output per hour, compensation per hour, and related cost data are published twice each quarter in the Bureau of Labor Statistics news release, Productivity and Costs(LPC). This usually occurs 1 week following the Advance and Second Estimate of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Gross Domestic Product release. News releases and historical datasets can be accessed online by visiting the Labor Productivity and Costs website at https://www.bls.gov/lpc.

News releases, data tables, documentation, and other publications can be accessed at https://www.bls.gov/lpc. Data are also available in Excel tables. More detailed data are available upon request by calling (202) 691-5606 or by sending an email to productivity@bls.gov. Information on “Productivity and Costs” news releases is available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200; Federal Relay Service number: 1-800-877-8339.

Multifactor productivity measures are announced each year in the news release, Multifactor Productivity Trends. Comprehensive tables can be downloaded at www.bls.gov/mfp/mprdload.htm. More detailed data are available upon request by calling (202) 691-5606 or by sending an email to MFPweb@bls.gov.

Included are annual indexes of multifactor productivity, capital inputs, and related measures for the private business and private nonfarm business sectors. Manufacturing measures are announced separately on an annual basis in the news release, Multifactor Productivity Trends in Manufacturing. News releases and historical datasets can be accessed online by visiting the Multifactor Productivity website at https://www.bls.gov/mfp/.

Revisions schedule to productivity data

Productivity and cost measures are regularly revised as more complete information becomes available or, more rarely, when methods change. The labor productivity and costs measures are first published within 40 days of the close of the reference period; revisions appear 30 days later, and second revisions, after an additional 60 days. In the business sector, the third publication (second revision) of a quarterly index of output per hour of all persons has differed from the initial value—between -1.4 and 1.4 index points approximately 95 percent of the time. This interval is based on the performance of this measure between the fourth quarter of 1995 and the fourth quarter of 2019.

On an annual basis, the LPC output measures obtained from BEA are revised historically by 5 years and published in July. The BLS Office of Productivity and Technology (OPT) then folds these historical revisions of the BEA July news release into the LPC for publishing in the early August news release. Similarly, the BLS Current Employment Statistics program annually revises its historical data by 5 years, with their benchmarking revisions occurring in February. These are then incorporated into the LPC March release. As the OPT program is the secondary user of the data, OPT data are revised following revisions of its source data.

The multifactor productivity statistics are more routinely revised historically and are obtained through many more data sources—making a clear revision timeline more challenging to convey. Aside from methodological changes that occur frequently in these series, the same sources of revisions are encountered with respect to labor and BEA inputs as the LPC release outlines. In addition, when the BEA GDP by industry data accounts are historically updated, these are also incorporated at the next annual revision and these revisions can go back as far as the initial year of the series.

Errata policy

As the Labor Productivity and Costs release is a principle federal economic indicator, the errata policy is quite strict. Any significant error, encompassing more than 0.1 percentage point from the published rate of growth of labor productivity, output, or hours will constitute a significant revision at the nonfarm business level.

It is BLS and the OPT program’s policy that any significant revision be immediately corrected with the utmost urgency. If the error is discovered within 2 weeks of the next release, language will be added to the next release to identify the error, however a reissue of the previous release may not occur, as the timing on reissue and the coincident release would be too close and might ultimately confuse the releases. We would, however, identify the error on the web when the extent of the error can be evaluated. It is the OPT mission to provide accurate, relevant, and honest productivity measures to help inform policy makers and decision makers about the health and direction of the U.S. economy.

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

Last Modified Date: September 23, 2020