Productivity Trends in Wholesale Trade and Manufacturing - Modern Distribution Management

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Productivity Trends in Wholesale Trade and Manufacturing

BLS reports that labor productivity and output fell in 2008 for the wholesale trade sector.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its 2008 overview of productivity and costs for the wholesale trade sector. The BLS reported that labor productivity fell 0.3% as output declined 0.8% in wholesale trade from 2007 to 2008. Output per hour fell in 10 of 19 wholesale trade sectors, with commercial equipment wholesalers seeing the largest labor productivity gain (9.2%) and perhaps not surprisingly furniture and home furnishing wholesalers saw the largest decline.

The largest employer in the wholesale trade sector, electronic markets and agents and brokers, saw a productivity decline of 2.6%. Unit labor costs rose in 13 of 19 sectors, and grew 1.9% in wholesale trade overall.
In a separate report focused on the second quarter 2009, the productivity gain in manufacturing was the largest since the first quarter 2005. Labor costs in manufacturing edged up 0.2% in the second quarter 2009 and increased 6.7% over the past four quarters.
Labor productivity, or output per hour, grew 4.9% in the manufacturing sector in the second quarter, as output fell 9.8% and hours worked decreased 14%. According to the BLS report, declines in output and hours were much more pronounced in durable goods than in nondurable goods industries.
BLS defines unit labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity.

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