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Productivity up 2.4 percent from first quarter 2018 to first quarter 2019

June 10, 2019

From the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.4 percent, reflecting a 3.9-percent increase in output and a 1.5-percent increase in hours worked. The four-quarter increase in productivity is the largest since a 2.7-percent gain in the third quarter of 2010.

Productivity and costs by sector, percent change from same quarter a year ago, 1st quarter 2019
Sector Business Nonfarm business Manufacturing Durable goods Nondurable goods

Labor productivity (output per hour)

2.4% 2.4% 0.8% 1.0% 1.1%

Output

3.9 3.9 1.6 2.4 0.6

Hours worked

1.4 1.5 0.7 1.5 -0.5

Unit labor costs

-0.8 -0.8 0.0 -0.6 0.5

Hourly compensation

1.6 1.5 0.9 0.4 1.6

Real hourly compensation

-0.1 -0.1 -0.8 -1.3 0.0

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector decreased 0.8 percent over the last four quarters, the lowest four-quarter rate since a 1.7-percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Over the last four quarters, total manufacturing sector productivity increased 0.8 percent, as output increased 1.6 percent and hours worked increased 0.7 percent.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. To learn more, see Productivity and Costs — First Quarter 2019, 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.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity up 2.4 percent from first quarter 2018 to first quarter 2019 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/productivity-up-2-point-4-percent-from-first-quarter-2018-to-first-quarter-2019.htm (visited October 21, 2019).

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