March 14, 2002
Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector fell at seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2001, after rising 2.6 percent in both the second and third quarters.
The 2.7-percent decline in unit labor costs in the fourth quarter was the result of a 2.3-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 5.2-percent increase in labor productivity.
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 Costsprogram. Data are subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Productivity and Costs, Fourth Quarter and Annual Averages, 2001 (revised)," news release USDL 02-123.