Labor productivity in the private nonfarm sector rose in 39 states and the District of Columbia in 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Output increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2021, following a year of decline for all areas. Hours worked increased in all 50 states but declined in the District of Columbia. Washington and New Hampshire experienced the highest growth in labor productivity of 6.4 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.
Labor productivity, output, and hours worked for select states, percent change, 2021
- Two states saw productivity growth over 5.0 percent: Washington (6.4 percent) and New Hampshire (5.2 percent).
- Output growth exceeded 9.0 percent in three states: California (9.8 percent), Tennessee (9.8percent), and New Hampshire (9.3 percent).
- Nevada and Florida saw the highest growth in hours worked (9.8 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively).
- Two states, Arkansas and Oklahoma, saw no change to labor productivity due to gains in output that matched gains in hours worked.
- Labor productivity declined in nine states (Alaska, Wyoming, Nevada, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey) due to a more rapid increase in hours worked than in output.
Contributions to national labor productivity, 2021
Each state’s annual contribution to national productivity growth is calculated by multiplying the state’s productivity growth rate by its average share of total current dollar national output. The economic size of each state influences its contribution to national and regional estimates. For 2021, California had the largest contribution to national growth. The state’s 4.2-percent growth in labor productivity in 2021 contributed nearly one third of the 2.1-percent growth of the nation.
While increases in output and hours worked were widespread in 2021, not all areas have fully recovered to levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Output surpassed 2019 levels in 37 states in 2021.
- Idaho and Utah share the highest average annual output growth rate (3.7 percent).
- Hours worked were still below 2019 levels in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
- Hawaii saw the largest decrease in hours worked (-5.8 percent); Idaho experienced the largest increase (3.7 percent).
- Labor productivity increased in all but two states–Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia experienced average annual labor productivity growth faster than the national rate of 2.5 percent.
- Of these 17 states, Utah was the only state that also experienced an increase in hours worked.
- The remaining 16 areas had declines in hours worked that outpaced that of the nation (-1.3 percent).
- Three areas–California, Washington, and the District of Columbia–saw productivity growth of more than 5.0 percent.
- North Dakota, Vermont, and the District of Columbia had declines in both output and hours worked.
Long term trends
- From 2007 to 2021, labor productivity rose in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
- Output grew in 46 states and the District of Columbia while hours worked grew in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
- North Dakota experienced the highest rate of labor productivity growth of 3.4 percent. Louisiana, and Wyoming posted slight declines over the long term and Alaska saw no growth.
- In 2020, every state saw declines in output and all but one state saw declines in hours worked, closely mirroring the recession years of 2007-09. 2021 was a year of recovery with all areas experiencing growth in output and hours worked increased in all states.
Contributions to national labor productivity, average annual percent change, 2007-21
California, New York, and Texas, which have the largest economies, contributed the most to national productivity growth, over 40 percent of the 1.4-percent increase.
Output and compensation measures for 2020 and earlier years reflect revisions to GDP by state and industry data published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Hours and employment data through 2020 have been revised to incorporate the BLS 2021 Current Employment Statistics benchmark.
Access the following productivity data at www.bls.gov/productivity/tables/labor-productivity-by-state-and-region.xlsx:
* Detailed data series: indexes of productivity and related measures; rates of change; and levels of state employment, hours worked, value-added output, and labor compensation
* Additional years and long-term data