July 08, 2005
Using a simplified methodology and preliminary data, BLS estimates that private business multifactor productivity (MFP) grew 3.1 percent in 2003 and 3.3 percent in 2004.
The simplified method is clearly related to the regular methodology, relatively transparent, and statistically robust. The method’s simplicity will help make multifactor productivity estimates available as early as possible.
BLS research using data for 1993-2002 shows that the simplified estimates are fairly accurate; the average annual discrepancy between the estimates from the simplified and full models was less than a quarter of a percentage point for the test period. However, the simplified estimates rely heavily on the most recent full model for certain values, so the simplified model is not a replacement for the full model.
BLS will eventually revise its simplified estimates to obtain complete estimates, after all the required data become available. The latest published BLS measures of multifactor productivity using the full model are for the year 2002. MFP rose 1.9 percent in the private business sector that year.
Multifactor productivity is designed to measure the joint influences on economic growth of technological change, efficiency improvements, returns to scale, reallocation of resources, and other factors.
These data are from the BLS Multifactor Productivity program. Data are subject to revision. Find out more in "Preliminary estimates of multifactor productivity growth" by Peter B. Meyer and Michael J. Harper, Monthly Labor Review, June 2005.