Labor productivity increases in most industries from 1987 to 1996

November 13, 1998

From 1987 to 1996, productivity increases were reported in 84 percent of three-digit Standard Industrial Classification industries for which data were available: 142 of 169 three-digit industries had productivity increases. For 61 percent of these industries, labor productivity grew at an annual average rate between 0.0 percent and 3.0 percent.

Changes in output per hour, 1987-96, for selected three-digit industries with highest 1996 employment
[Chart data—TXT]

Labor productivity in the nonfarm business sector increased at an average annual rate of 1.0 percent from 1987 to 1996. The overall upward trend in productivity during the period was reflected in the productivity performance of the largest industries (those with employment greater than 400,000): Fourteen of the 27 large industries reported annual average productivity growth of 1 percent or greater.

The fastest average annual growth in productivity from 1987 to 1996 was reported in radio, television, and computer stores (7.1 percent); telephone communications (5.5 percent); and commercial banks (3.1 percent).

Nine large industries recorded productivity gains of less than 1 percent per year from 1987 to 1996. Only four of the 27 largest industries suffered productivity losses. Among these four, however, were the two largest industries, eating and drinking places (down 0.2 percent) and grocery stores (down 1.3 percent).

These data are a product of the BLS Industry Productivity program. Data are subject to revision. Additional information is available from "BLS completes major expansion of industry productivity series", Monthly Labor Review, September 1998.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor productivity increases in most industries from 1987 to 1996 on the Internet at (visited July 21, 2017).


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