Transportation Productivity:

Multifactor Productivity


Productivity measures answer important questions about the performance of the transportation sector. This page discusses multifactor productivity. Data and discussion about labor productivity also available.

2018 Year-in-Review
  • Among the sectors experiencing gains in multifactor productivity in 2018, transportation and warehousing grew the least at 0.1 percent.
  • Pipeline experienced the greatest increase in multifactor productivity in 2018, growing 4.8  percent. Warehousing and truck transportation experienced a decline in multifactor productivity over the same period.

Multifactor Productivity
Multifactor productivity (MFP) measures output per unit as a weighted average of multiple factors, including capital, labor, and intermediate inputs (e.g., fuel and materials). Unlike labor productivity, which is a single-factor measure of productivity, changes in MFP reflect the combined effect of multiple inputs. MFP better captures the effect of new technologies, regulatory and organizational changes than labor productivity.
MFP are available for all sectors, enabling comparisons across sectors. Transportation and warehousing shows higher MFP than most other sectors.
Gains in transportation and warehousing MFP can result from increases in output per unit of one or the weighted inputs over time. Inputs include:
  • Capital: cumulative value of the services rendered from the use of physical assets such as equipment, structures, and software over time
  • Labor: combined effect of hours worked and the effort and skills of the workers
  • Intermediates: fuels, materials (e.g., tires), and purchased services


Multifactor Productivity | Mulitfactor Productivity by Transportation Mode | Components of Transportation Multifactor Productivity by Mode
Multifactor Productivity by Transportation Mode
Transportation modes and warehousing experience different MFP - unique to the inputs, new technologies, and regulations each faces.

Multifactor Productivity | Mulitfactor Productivity by Transportation Mode Components of Transportation Multifactor Productivity by Mode
Components of Multifactor Productivity by Transportation Mode

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U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at www.bts.gov/product/transportation-economic-trends.


Bureau of Transportation Statistics
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics, and provides context to decision makers and the public for understanding statistics on transportation.