Thursday, June 10, 2010


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau




[full-text, 11 pages]


Labor productivity -- defined as output per hour -- rose in 46 percent of the 138 detailed manufacturing,

mining, and service-providing industries studied in 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported

today. This was down from the 62 percent that recorded productivity increases the previous year. Unit

labor costs, which reflect the total labor costs required to produce a unit of output, declined in 30 percent

of the industries, compared to 20 percent in 2007.


Fewer industries recorded productivity increases in 2008 than in any other year since 1988.  Output rose in

fewer industries and hours declined in more industries in 2008 compared to 2007. Output rose in 41 of the

138 industries examined, compared to 72 in 2007; hours declined in 101, compared to 79 industries in

2007. The percent of industries with output increases declined each year from 2005 to 2008, with the

largest drop occurring in 2008. The percent of industries with declining hours rose each year

from 2006 to 2008, with the largest increase occurring in 2008. 


Over the 1987 to 2008 period, labor productivity increased in 92 percent of the industries. Unit labor costs

declined in 18 percent of the industries. (See table 2.) Productivity growth rates for the industries studied

show a more negative distribution in the most recent year compared to the longer-term period from 1987 to 2008.


With this release, productivity and cost measures are published for the first time for general freight

trucking, local (NAICS 48411) and for general freight trucking (NAICS 4841). The latter combines the

previously published measures for long-distance general freight trucking with the new measures for local

freight trucking. Trends in the local freight trucking industry are strongly affected by business cycles and

the overall economic environment. While productivity in this industry declined slightly in 2008, between

1994 and 2008 productivity increased at an average rate of 3.1 percent per year. The widespread adoption

of onboard computer systems, satellite-based tracking, and wireless internet have contributed to substantial

increases in efficiency in this industry.


Industry labor productivity measures are updated as data become available. Productivity data through 2008

for industries in wholesale and retail trade were published on August 28, 2009 and can be found on the

BLS Labor Productivity and Costs web site at


AND MORE...including TABLES & CHARTS....



This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       



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