February 13, 2001
Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2000, after rising 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2000.
The increase in unit labor costs during the fourth quarter was due to a 6.6-percent growth in hourly compensation and a 2.4-percent rise in labor productivity (seasonally adjusted annual rates). During the third quarter, hourly compensation was up by 6.2 percent and productivity increased 3.0 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, Fourth-Quarter and Annual Averages for 2000 (Preliminary)," news release USDL 01-40.