Transportation Economic Trends
Productivity measures answer important questions about the performance of the transportation sector. This page discusses labor productivity. Data and discussion about multifactor productivity also available.
- Water, at 16.1 percent, followed by air (5.9 percent) and rail (1.3 percent) transportation experienced an increase in labor productivity in 2018 while all other modes experienced a decline.
Labor productivity measures the output per unit of labor input. When an industry has multiple products or services, the outputs are weighted by value. Labor productivity shows industries' responses to regulations and policies, changes in labor costs, and competitive pressures. For example, gains in air productivity from 2001 to 2008 resulted from legacy carriers adopting aggressive labor-saving initiatives and from large output gains among low-cost carriers.