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Information about the information industry's productivity and growth

April 02, 2024

Information is everywhere. We certainly supply a lot of it here at BLS and it feels like it is always growing. Is it? And is the information sector becoming more efficient, producing more output from the same, or fewer, inputs? The information sector includes newspapers, data processing, radio, television, movies, and more. From 1990 to 2022, total factor productivity in the information sector grew 1.1 percent. Total factor productivity compares growth in output to the growth in a combination of inputs. As the chart shows, this sector has experienced some variation over the different business cycles (intervals of general expansion followed by recession in economic performance).

Total factor productivity growth in the information sector
Time period Total factor productivity growth

1990–2000

-0.8

2000–07

3.4

2007–19

1.0

2019–22

2.3

So, what about output? Output in information has been consistently growing. The growth has usually been from growth in combined inputs except during 2000–2007, when total factor productivity was the primary driver of output growth.

Total factor productivity, combined inputs, and output growth for the information sector
Measure 1990–2000 2000–07 2007–19 2019–22

Total factor productivity

-0.8 3.4 1.0 2.3

Combined inputs

8.2 0.3 3.5 4.9

Real sectoral output

7.4 3.6 4.6 7.3

The years around the turn of the millennium include the "dot com" age, which brought many technologies resulting in efficiencies that can be hard to measure, especially when they are new. Which is exactly what total factor productivity measures! Dig deeper into our data and input breakouts with our major industries total factor productivity table. All the information on productivity is at your disposal!

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Information about the information industry's productivity and growth at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/information-about-the-information-industry-productivity-and-growth.htm (visited April 13, 2024).

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