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Productivity up 1.3 percent, third quarter of 2017 to third quarter of 2018

December 10, 2018

From the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, nonfarm business labor productivity increased 1.3 percent, reflecting a 3.7-percent increase in output and a 2.3-percent increase in hours worked. Unit labor costs increased 0.9 percent over the last four quarters.

Productivity and costs by sector, percent change from same quarter a year ago, 3rd quarter 2018
Sector  Business  Nonfarm business Manufacturing Durable goods Nondurable goods

Labor productivity (output per hour)

1.2% 1.3% 1.4% 1.7% 1.4%


3.6 3.7 3.6 4.1 3.0

Hours worked

2.4 2.3 2.1 2.4 1.6

Unit labor costs

1.0 0.9 -1.2 -0.9 -2.4

Hourly compensation

2.2 2.2 0.2 0.8 -1.1

Real hourly compensation

-0.4 -0.4 -2.4 -1.8 -3.6

Over the last four quarters, manufacturing productivity increased 1.4 percent, as output increased 3.6 percent and hours worked increased 2.1 percent. Unit labor costs in manufacturing decreased 1.2 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see Productivity and Costs — Third Quarter 2018, Revised. Also see Charts related to the latest "Productivity and Costs" news release. Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers. BLS calculates unit labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity up 1.3 percent, third quarter of 2017 to third quarter of 2018 at (visited July 20, 2024).

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