June 06, 2002
Unit labor costs in the manufacturing sector fell at an annual rate of 6.4 percent (seasonally adjusted) in the first quarter of 2002.
This decline in unit labor costs resulted from a combination of a 9.4-percent rise in manufacturing productivity and a 2.4-percent increase in hourly compensation. The last time unit labor costs fell this much in one quarter was in the second quarter of 1961, when they fell 6.9 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 Productivity and Costs program. Data are subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Productivity and Costs, First Quarter 2002 (revised), (PDF) (TXT) news release USDL 02-318.