Jump in unit labor costs in manufacturing
June 11, 2001
Unit labor costs rose at an annual rate of 7.0 percent in manufacturing in the first quarter of 2001 (seasonally adjusted), according to revised data from BLS.
The combination of a 2.1-percent drop in manufacturing productivity and a 4.7-percent increase in hourly compensation in the first quarter caused the 7.0-percent rise in unit labor costs in manufacturing. The last time unit labor costs increased this much in one quarter was in the first quarter of 1991, when they rose 7.2 percent.
Unit labor costs were up in both parts of manufacturing in the first quarter of 2001. In durable goods industries, they rose 6.5 percent, and, in nondurable goods industries, they rose even more: 8.6 percent.
Unit labor costs—the cost of the labor input required to produce one unit of output—are computed by dividing labor costs in nominal terms by real output. Unit labor costs can also be expressed as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity.
These data are a product of the BLS Quarterly Labor Productivityprogram. Data are subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Productivity and Costs, First Quarter 2001 (revised)," news release USDL 01-163.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Jump in unit labor costs in manufacturing on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2001/june/wk2/art01.htm (visited April 26, 2017).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
STEM occupations: past, present, and future
A look at employment and wages in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics occupations.
Workplace injuries and illnesses and employer costs for workers’ compensation
Workplace injury and illness data and the costs to employers for workers’ compensation in natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.
A look at the future of the U.S. labor force to 2060
Projected long-term trends in the growth, size, and composition of the labor force.
Union membership in the United States
Historical trends in union membership among employed wage and salary workers; union membership by a variety of demographic characteristics.