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Productivity up 2.5 percent as output declined, 4th quarter 2019 to 4th quarter 2020

February 08, 2021

From the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.5 percent, as output declined 2.7 percent and hours worked declined 5.0 percent. Manufacturing productivity increased 2.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, with output declining 3.0 percent and hours worked declining 5.0 percent.

 Percent change in productivity measures from same quarter in previous year, Quarter 1 2006–Quarter 4 2020
Quarter Nonfarm business Business
Labor productivity Hours worked Output Real hourly compensation Unit labor costs Labor productivity Hours worked Output Real hourly compensation Unit labor costs

Q1 2006

1.3% 2.5% 3.9% 0.8% 3.1% 1.4% 2.4% 3.8% 0.8% 3.1%

Q2 2006

1.5 2.1 3.7 0.0 2.4 1.7 1.9 3.7 0.2 2.3

Q3 2006

0.4 2.4 2.8 -0.5 2.5 0.4 2.3 2.8 -0.4 2.5

Q4 2006

1.2 2.1 3.3 2.0 2.8 1.0 2.2 3.2 1.9 2.9

Q1 2007

0.7 1.1 1.9 2.0 3.7 0.5 1.3 1.8 1.8 3.8

Q2 2007

1.2 1.3 2.6 1.7 3.1 1.1 1.2 2.3 1.9 3.5

Q3 2007

2.5 0.4 3.0 2.2 2.0 2.5 0.2 2.8 2.5 2.3

Q4 2007

2.5 -0.2 2.3 -0.1 1.4 2.4 -0.2 2.2 0.1 1.6

Q1 2008

1.4 -0.5 0.9 -1.6 1.0 1.4 -0.6 0.8 -1.5 1.1

Q2 2008

2.0 -1.4 0.5 -1.6 0.6 1.9 -1.3 0.6 -1.7 0.6

Q3 2008

1.3 -2.2 -0.9 -1.9 1.9 1.2 -2.1 -0.9 -2.1 1.8

Q4 2008

-0.1 -4.4 -4.5 1.5 3.3 -0.1 -4.3 -4.4 1.4 3.1

Q1 2009

1.6 -6.6 -5.0 -0.3 -2.1 1.7 -6.5 -4.9 -0.4 -2.2

Q2 2009

2.7 -8.2 -5.7 2.8 -0.8 2.7 -8.0 -5.5 2.6 -1.0

Q3 2009

3.9 -8.1 -4.5 3.1 -2.4 4.0 -8.0 -4.3 3.0 -2.5

Q4 2009

6.1 -5.8 -0.1 -0.4 -4.7 6.3 -5.9 0.0 -0.4 -4.9

Q1 2010

5.6 -3.3 2.0 0.7 -2.4 5.5 -3.4 2.0 0.7 -2.4

Q2 2010

3.7 -0.3 3.4 -0.1 -2.0 3.7 -0.3 3.4 -0.2 -2.0

Q3 2010

2.7 1.4 4.2 0.2 -1.2 2.6 1.4 4.1 0.1 -1.3

Q4 2010

1.6 1.8 3.5 0.1 -0.3 1.5 1.9 3.4 0.0 -0.2

Q1 2011

0.4 2.0 2.5 1.7 3.4 0.3 2.1 2.4 1.5 3.3

Q2 2011

0.4 2.0 2.4 -1.2 1.7 0.3 1.9 2.2 -1.2 1.8

Q3 2011

-0.5 1.8 1.3 -1.3 3.0 -0.7 1.8 1.1 -1.4 3.0

Q4 2011

-0.3 2.2 1.9 -2.8 0.8 -0.3 2.2 1.9 -2.8 0.8

Q1 2012

0.8 2.8 3.7 -1.8 0.2 0.7 2.8 3.6 -1.7 0.4

Q2 2012

1.1 2.1 3.2 0.3 1.2 1.0 2.2 3.2 0.4 1.3

Q3 2012

1.3 2.2 3.5 -0.1 0.3 1.2 2.2 3.4 0.0 0.6

Q4 2012

0.3 1.9 2.2 3.7 5.4 0.1 1.8 2.0 3.9 5.7

Q1 2013

0.5 1.5 2.0 0.0 1.3 0.8 1.3 2.1 0.3 1.3

Q2 2013

-0.3 1.8 1.4 0.5 2.3 0.2 1.5 1.7 0.8 2.1

Q3 2013

0.4 1.8 2.2 0.1 1.3 0.8 1.7 2.5 0.2 1.0

Q4 2013

1.5 1.7 3.2 -1.5 -1.7 1.8 1.6 3.5 -1.5 -2.0

Q1 2014

-0.1 1.8 1.7 1.6 3.3 0.0 1.8 1.7 1.6 3.1

Q2 2014

1.3 2.1 3.4 -0.2 0.7 1.1 2.2 3.3 -0.3 0.7

Q3 2014

1.8 2.2 4.0 1.0 1.1 1.5 2.3 3.9 0.8 1.1

Q4 2014

0.5 3.0 3.5 2.0 2.7 0.3 3.2 3.5 1.7 2.7

Q1 2015

2.4 2.7 5.2 2.7 0.2 2.2 3.0 5.3 2.3 0.0

Q2 2015

1.8 2.5 4.3 3.8 2.1 1.6 2.7 4.3 3.5 2.0

Q3 2015

1.1 1.9 3.0 3.4 2.5 1.1 2.0 3.1 3.3 2.4

Q4 2015

1.0 1.4 2.4 2.0 1.5 1.0 1.4 2.5 2.0 1.4

Q1 2016

0.3 1.6 1.9 0.1 0.8 0.3 1.6 1.9 0.1 0.8

Q2 2016

-0.1 1.4 1.4 -0.4 0.7 -0.2 1.6 1.4 -0.6 0.7

Q3 2016

0.0 1.6 1.6 -0.5 0.7 0.0 1.7 1.7 -0.6 0.7

Q4 2016

1.1 1.2 2.4 0.0 0.6 1.3 1.1 2.4 0.2 0.7

Q1 2017

1.2 1.2 2.3 0.2 1.6 1.2 1.1 2.4 0.3 1.6

Q2 2017

1.2 1.4 2.6 1.1 1.9 1.3 1.3 2.5 1.3 2.0

Q3 2017

1.5 1.4 2.9 1.9 2.4 1.6 1.2 2.8 2.1 2.5

Q4 2017

1.2 2.0 3.2 2.1 3.0 1.0 2.2 3.2 1.9 3.0

Q1 2018

1.5 2.2 3.7 1.6 2.3 1.6 2.1 3.7 1.6 2.3

Q2 2018

1.8 2.1 3.9 0.8 1.7 2.0 1.9 3.9 1.0 1.6

Q3 2018

1.3 2.2 3.6 0.8 2.2 1.3 2.2 3.6 0.7 2.1

Q4 2018

1.2 1.6 2.7 0.4 1.4 1.3 1.4 2.8 0.4 1.3

Q1 2019

1.5 1.1 2.6 2.5 2.6 1.5 1.0 2.6 2.5 2.6

Q2 2019

1.7 0.4 2.2 2.3 2.4 1.7 0.5 2.2 2.3 2.4

Q3 2019

1.7 0.6 2.3 1.1 1.2 1.7 0.6 2.3 1.1 1.2

Q4 2019

1.9 0.8 2.7 1.2 1.4 1.8 0.8 2.6 1.3 1.4

Q1 2020

0.9 -0.8 0.1 1.2 2.5 0.9 -0.8 0.2 1.2 2.4

Q2 2020

2.9 -13.6 -11.1 8.3 5.7 2.7 -13.3 -11.0 8.0 5.7

Q3 2020

4.2 -7.1 -3.2 6.9 3.9 4.3 -7.1 -3.1 6.9 3.8

Q4 2020

2.5 -5.0 -2.7 6.5 5.2 2.5 -4.9 -2.6 6.4 5.1
 Percent change in productivity measures from same quarter in previous year, Quarter 1 2006–Quarter 4 2020
Quarter Manufacturing
Labor productivity Hours worked Output Real hourly compensation Unit labor costs

Q1 2006

1.1% 0.9% 2.0% -0.3% 2.2%

Q2 2006

-0.6 2.0 1.4 -2.5 2.0

Q3 2006

0.6 1.4 2.0 -2.3 0.3

Q4 2006

2.0 -0.9 1.1 1.7 1.7

Q1 2007

3.6 -1.8 1.7 1.3 0.2

Q2 2007

5.3 -1.8 3.4 1.9 -0.7

Q3 2007

5.2 -1.6 3.5 2.0 -0.8

Q4 2007

5.0 -1.5 3.4 -0.8 -1.8

Q1 2008

3.5 -2.1 1.4 -2.5 -1.9

Q2 2008

0.8 -2.9 -2.2 -2.0 1.4

Q3 2008

-1.5 -4.5 -5.9 -1.7 5.0

Q4 2008

-4.3 -7.4 -11.4 3.1 9.4

Q1 2009

-4.8 -11.7 -16.0 2.8 7.8

Q2 2009

-1.3 -15.1 -16.1 5.6 6.0

Q3 2009

3.4 -14.0 -11.0 5.1 0.0

Q4 2009

7.2 -10.5 -4.0 1.0 -4.4

Q1 2010

9.2 -4.9 3.8 -0.3 -6.6

Q2 2010

8.6 0.2 8.9 -0.6 -6.9

Q3 2010

4.8 2.5 7.4 -0.3 -3.7

Q4 2010

3.3 2.4 5.8 -0.4 -2.3

Q1 2011

2.5 2.4 5.0 1.8 1.5

Q2 2011

0.0 2.2 2.2 -1.6 1.7

Q3 2011

1.1 0.8 2.0 -1.5 1.0

Q4 2011

-0.2 2.3 2.1 -3.7 -0.2

Q1 2012

-0.9 2.8 1.9 -2.0 1.7

Q2 2012

-0.6 2.5 1.8 -0.2 2.3

Q3 2012

-1.9 2.7 0.8 -0.7 2.9

Q4 2012

-0.6 1.5 0.8 1.3 3.9

Q1 2013

0.3 1.2 1.4 -1.6 -0.2

Q2 2013

1.7 0.1 1.9 -0.6 -0.9

Q3 2013

1.8 0.5 2.2 -0.4 -0.6

Q4 2013

0.9 1.4 2.2 -1.1 -0.7

Q1 2014

0.3 0.4 0.7 2.0 3.2

Q2 2014

-0.5 1.8 1.3 -0.1 2.5

Q3 2014

-0.4 1.9 1.6 0.5 2.7

Q4 2014

-1.1 2.2 1.0 2.0 4.4

Q1 2015

-1.9 2.3 0.3 1.9 3.8

Q2 2015

-2.4 1.3 -1.1 2.8 5.4

Q3 2015

-1.7 0.5 -1.3 3.1 5.2

Q4 2015

-1.5 -0.2 -1.7 1.6 3.6

Q1 2016

-0.3 -0.1 -0.4 -0.4 0.9

Q2 2016

-0.3 -0.1 -0.4 -0.6 0.7

Q3 2016

-0.7 0.4 -0.3 -1.4 0.5

Q4 2016

0.5 0.0 0.5 -0.6 0.7

Q1 2017

-0.4 0.6 0.2 -0.2 2.8

Q2 2017

0.4 0.7 1.1 1.3 2.8

Q3 2017

-0.9 1.2 0.2 1.6 4.6

Q4 2017

-0.4 1.6 1.2 1.6 4.2

Q1 2018

-0.1 1.6 1.5 1.4 3.7

Q2 2018

-0.2 2.0 1.7 -1.1 1.8

Q3 2018

1.2 2.2 3.4 -0.8 0.6

Q4 2018

0.6 1.9 2.5 -0.7 0.8

Q1 2019

1.0 0.6 1.6 0.9 1.6

Q2 2019

0.1 0.1 0.1 2.0 3.7

Q3 2019

-0.1 -0.5 -0.6 0.6 2.5

Q4 2019

-0.6 -0.5 -1.1 0.8 3.4

Q1 2020

-0.5 -1.5 -2.0 0.5 3.1

Q2 2020

-3.5 -12.4 -15.5 7.5 12.0

Q3 2020

1.1 -6.7 -5.6 8.6 8.7

Q4 2020

2.1 -5.0 -3.0 7.4 6.5

Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 5.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020. Over the same period, unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 6.5 percent.

These data are from the Labor Productivity and Costs program. All percent changes shown are subject to revision. To learn more, see "Productivity and Costs — Fourth Quarter and Annual Averages 2020, Preliminary.” 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. Unit labor costs are the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity. Increases in hourly compensation raise unit labor costs, and increases in output per hour reduce unit labor costs.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Productivity up 2.5 percent as output declined, 4th quarter 2019 to 4th quarter 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/productivity-up-2-5-percent-as-output-declined-4th-quarter-2019-to-4th-quarter-2020.htm (visited July 29, 2021).

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