September 01, 2009
Labor productivity—defined as output per hour—fell in wholesale trade, retail trade, and food services and drinking places in 2008: -0.3 percent in wholesale trade, -1.8 percent in retail trade, and -0.7 percent in food and services and drinking places. Both output and hours declined in each of these sectors in 2008.
Productivity fell in 26 of the 50 detailed industries studied. Unit labor costs rose in 29 of the detailed industries and in all three sectors.
Over the longer term, output per hour increased at the following average annual rates between 1987 and 2008: 3.0 percent in wholesale trade, 3.0 percent in retail trade, and 0.6 percent in food services and drinking places.
These data are from the BLS Productivity and Costs program. For more information, see the "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Food Services and Drinking Places Industries, 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL 09-1022.