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Labor productivity up in 18 of 28 selected service-providing industries in 2018

June 13, 2019

Labor productivity rose in 18 of 28 selected service-providing industries in 2018. Among those with increasing productivity, output grew in 15 industries and hours worked grew in 7 industries.

Percent change in labor productivity, output, and hours worked in selected service-providing industries, 2018
Industry Labor productivity Output Hours worked

Natural gas distribution

13.5% 10.7% -2.4%

Drycleaning and laundry services

10.9 7.3 -3.3

Wireless telecommunications carriers

10.1 6.6 -3.1

Travel arrangement and reservation services

7.3 3.4 1.4

Gambling industries

6.6 1.5 -4.7

Radio and television broadcasting

5.7 5.7 0.0

Air transportation

5.1 5.1 0.0

Amusement parks and arcades

4.8 3.8 -1.0

Software publishers

4.0 15.5 11.0

Newspaper publishers

3.8 -2.2 -5.8

Wired telecommunications carriers

3.1 -4.6 -7.5

Truck, trailer, and RV rental and leasing

2.8 7.2 4.3

Power generation and supply

2.6 3.2 0.7

Cable and other subscription programming

2.1 3.8 1.6

General freight trucking, long-distance

2.0 4.1 2.1

Engineering services

1.9 3.4 1.4

Periodical publishers

1.8 -5.5 -7.1

Commercial banking

1.5 1.7 0.3

Postal service

0.0 -1.5 -1.5

General freight trucking, local

-0.3 3.5 3.8

Water, sewage and other systems

-0.5 -0.5 0.0

Line-haul railroads

-0.6 0.0 0.6

Medical and diagnostic laboratories

-0.8 1.0 1.8

Accounting and bookkeeping services

-0.9 0.1 1.0

Couriers and messengers

-1.6 2.7 4.4

Specialized freight trucking

-3.5 -0.4 3.2

Automotive repair and maintenance

-3.9 0.4 4.6

Warehousing and storage

-7.6 2.0 10.4

Productivity gains of at least 7.0 percent occurred in 4 industries: natural gas distribution (13.5 percent), drycleaning and laundry services (10.9 percent), wireless telecommunications carriers (10.1 percent), and travel arrangement and reservation services (7.3 percent). In all 4 of these industries, output increases coincided with declines in hours worked.

Hours worked increased in 8 industries that recorded declines in productivity. Of these, the largest gains in hours worked were in warehousing and storage (10.4 percent), automotive repair and maintenance (4.6 percent), and couriers and messengers (4.4 percent).

By definition, labor productivity increases when the change in output is larger than the change in hours worked. As shown in the chart, industries with markers for output to the right of their markers for hours worked had productivity increases.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. Data are preliminary and may be revised. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs by Industry: Selected Service-Providing Industries — 2018."

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor productivity up in 18 of 28 selected service-providing industries in 2018 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/labor-productivity-up-in-18-of-28-selected-service-providing-industries-in-2018.htm (visited November 14, 2019).

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