Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sharp decline in manufacturing labor costs in first quarter

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.

Percent change in unit labor costs, manufacturing, seasonally adjusted, 2000 II-2002 I (percent change from previous quarter at annual rate)
[Chart data—TXT]

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.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Sharp decline in manufacturing labor costs in first quarter at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2002/jun/wk1/art04.htm (visited December 05, 2021).

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