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Labor productivity up 1.3 percent, real compensation up 0.5 percent, second quarter 2017 to 2018

August 17, 2018

Labor productivity in the nonfarm business sector rose 1.3 percent from the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018. Real output rose 3.5 percent over that period, and hours worked increased 2.2 percent. Real hourly compensation—that is, adjusted for inflation—rose 0.5 percent from the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018.

Labor productivity and related measures in the nonfarm business sector, percent change from same quarter a year earlier
Quarter Labor productivity
(output per hour)
Output Hours worked Unit labor costs Hourly
compensation
Real hourly
compensation

Q1 2008

1.4% 0.9% -0.5% 1.0% 2.5% -1.6%

Q2 2008

2.0 0.5 -1.4 0.6 2.6 -1.7

Q3 2008

1.2 -0.9 -2.1 1.9 3.1 -2.1

Q4 2008

-0.2 -4.5 -4.3 3.3 3.0 1.4

Q1 2009

1.6 -5.0 -6.5 -2.1 -0.6 -0.4

Q2 2009

2.6 -5.7 -8.1 -0.8 1.8 2.7

Q3 2009

4.0 -4.5 -8.2 -2.4 1.5 3.2

Q4 2009

6.1 -0.1 -5.8 -4.7 1.0 -0.5

Q1 2010

5.5 2.0 -3.3 -2.4 3.0 0.6

Q2 2010

3.7 3.4 -0.3 -2.0 1.7 -0.1

Q3 2010

2.7 4.2 1.4 -1.2 1.5 0.2

Q4 2010

1.6 3.5 1.9 -0.3 1.3 0.1

Q1 2011

0.4 2.5 2.0 3.4 3.9 1.7

Q2 2011

0.4 2.4 2.0 1.7 2.1 -1.2

Q3 2011

-0.7 1.3 1.9 3.0 2.3 -1.4

Q4 2011

-0.2 1.9 2.2 0.8 0.5 -2.8

Q1 2012

0.8 3.7 2.8 0.2 1.1 -1.7

Q2 2012

1.1 3.2 2.2 1.2 2.2 0.3

Q3 2012

1.3 3.5 2.2 0.3 1.7 -0.1

Q4 2012

0.3 2.2 1.9 5.4 5.8 3.7

Q1 2013

0.5 2.0 1.6 1.3 1.8 0.0

Q2 2013

-0.3 1.4 1.7 2.3 2.0 0.6

Q3 2013

0.4 2.2 1.8 1.3 1.7 0.1

Q4 2013

1.5 3.2 1.7 -1.7 -0.3 -1.5

Q1 2014

0.1 1.7 1.7 3.4 3.5 2.0

Q2 2014

1.2 3.3 2.1 0.7 1.9 -0.2

Q3 2014

1.7 3.9 2.2 1.1 2.8 0.9

Q4 2014

0.3 3.3 3.0 2.7 3.0 1.8

Q1 2015

1.9 4.8 2.8 0.2 2.1 2.2

Q2 2015

1.7 4.2 2.5 2.1 3.8 3.7

Q3 2015

0.9 2.7 1.9 2.9 3.8 3.5

Q4 2015

0.7 2.2 1.5 1.8 2.5 2.1

Q1 2016

0.0 1.6 1.6 1.2 1.2 0.1

Q2 2016

-0.3 1.2 1.5 0.8 0.5 -0.6

Q3 2016

-0.1 1.6 1.7 0.7 0.6 -0.6

Q4 2016

1.0 2.1 1.2 0.9 1.9 0.1

Q1 2017

1.0 2.2 1.2 2.0 3.1 0.5

Q2 2017

1.2 2.6 1.4 2.0 3.2 1.3

Q3 2017

1.4 2.9 1.5 2.5 3.9 1.9

Q4 2017

1.0 3.1 2.1 2.2 3.2 1.1

Q1 2018

1.0 3.2 2.3 2.0 3.0 0.7

Q2 2018

1.3 3.5 2.2 1.9 3.2 0.5

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector rose 1.9 percent from the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018. That reflects a 3.2-percent increase in hourly compensation (not adjusted for inflation) and the 1.3-percent increase in productivity.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. For more information, see “Labor Productivity and Costs — Second Quarter 2018, Preliminary.” Labor productivity is calculated by dividing inflation-adjusted output by hours worked for all employees, business owners, and unpaid family workers. Unit labor costs are the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity. Increases in hourly compensation increase unit labor costs, and increases in productivity reduce unit labor costs.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor productivity up 1.3 percent, real compensation up 0.5 percent, second quarter 2017 to 2018 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/labor-productivity-up-1-3-percent-real-compensation-up-0-5-percent-second-quarter-2017-to-2018.htm (visited November 21, 2019).

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