February 13, 2003
Labor productivity—defined as output per hour—increased 3.4 percent per year on average from 1990 to 2000 in wholesale trade. Most of this growth was due to three industries within the wholesale trade sector.
In fact, more than 80 percent of wholesale trade’s productivity growth between 1990 and 2000 occurred in those three industries. The largest share, 42 percent of the sector’s productivity growth, can be attributed to professional and commercial equipment and supplies. Computer equipment and supplies accounted for over half of sales in this industry.
Nearly a quarter of wholesale trade’s productivity growth (24 percent) was due to the electrical goods industry. Motor vehicles and automotive parts and supplies had a share of 15 percent. All three of these industries are in the durable-goods group within wholesale trade.
The wholesale trade sector includes establishments involved in selling merchandise to retailers; to industrial, commercial, institutional, farm, construction contractors, or professional business users; or acting as brokers in purchases or sales of merchandise between businesses.
This information is from the BLS Productivity and Costs Program. Data are subject to revision. Learn more in "Labor productivity growth in wholesale trade, 1990-2000" by Christopher Kask, David Kiernan, and Brian Friedman, in the December 2002 issue of Monthly Labor Review.