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Labor productivity up 4.1 percent from first quarter 2020 to first quarter 2021

June 14, 2021

From the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 4.1 percent, reflecting a 1.1-percent increase in output and a 2.9-percent decline in hours worked.

Nonfarm business productivity and costs, percent change from same quarter a year ago
Quarter Labor productivity Output Hours worked Unit labor costs Hourly compensation Real hourly compensation

1st Q 2015

2.5% 5.2% 2.7% 0.1% 2.6% 2.7%

2nd Q 2015

1.8 4.3 2.4 2.0 3.9 3.8

3rd Q 2015

0.9 3.0 2.1 2.6 3.6 3.4

4th Q 2015

1.0 2.4 1.4 1.4 2.5 2.0

1st Q 2016

0.3 1.9 1.6 0.9 1.2 0.1

2nd Q 2016

-0.2 1.4 1.5 0.8 0.6 -0.5

3rd Q 2016

0.1 1.6 1.5 0.6 0.7 -0.5

4th Q 2016

1.3 2.4 1.1 0.6 1.8 0.0

1st Q 2017

1.2 2.3 1.2 1.6 2.8 0.2

2nd Q 2017

1.0 2.6 1.6 2.0 3.1 1.1

3rd Q 2017

1.5 2.9 1.4 2.4 3.9 1.9

4th Q 2017

1.2 3.2 2.0 3.0 4.3 2.1

1st Q 2018

1.5 3.7 2.2 2.3 3.8 1.6

2nd Q 2018

1.9 3.9 2.0 1.6 3.5 0.8

3rd Q 2018

1.4 3.6 2.1 2.1 3.5 0.9

4th Q 2018

1.1 2.7 1.7 1.4 2.5 0.3

1st Q 2019

1.6 2.6 1.1 2.6 4.2 2.5

2nd Q 2019

1.8 2.2 0.3 2.3 4.2 2.3

3rd Q 2019

1.7 2.3 0.7 1.2 2.9 1.1

4th Q 2019

2.0 2.7 0.7 1.4 3.4 1.3

1st Q 2020

0.8 0.1 -0.7 2.5 3.3 1.2

2nd Q 2020

3.0 -11.1 -13.7 5.6 8.8 8.3

3rd Q 2020

4.0 -3.2 -6.9 3.1 7.2 5.9

4th Q 2020

2.6 -2.6 -5.0 6.1 8.8 7.5

1st Q 2021

4.1 1.1 -2.9 4.1 8.3 6.3

Unit labor costs increased 4.1 percent over the last four quarters, as hourly compensation increased 8.3 percent and productivity increased 4.1 percent.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program and are seasonally adjusted annual rates, subject to revision. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs — First Quarter 2021, 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 for all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor productivity up 4.1 percent from first quarter 2020 to first quarter 2021 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/labor-productivity-up-4-1-percent-from-first-quarter-2020-to-first-quarter-2021.htm (visited July 29, 2021).

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