The US Bureau of Labor Statistics Productivity Program

The Oxford Handbook of Productivity Analysis(2018)

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This chapter describes the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) productivity program. It presents the BLS’s methodology and data sources used to produce estimates of aggregate and industry-level labor and multifactor productivity growth, along with a number of other productivity-related measures including unit labor costs, labor compensation, and labor share. The chapter provides a detailed description of the main elements of BLS’s productivity measures including: output concepts; how BLS calculates hours worked by combining data from three different surveys; how it accounts for changes in the composition of the labor force; its methodology for estimating capital services; and data sources for intermediate inputs. The chapter also discusses some of the measurement challenges faced by the BLS, and concludes with a discussion of projects currently under way to expand and improve its productivity statistics.
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