Monday, August 25, 2008

2005 USA Labor Values

Figure 1 and Table 1 list industries in order of declining labor values, as of 2005. Industries are as aggregated in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), and labor values are in units of person-years per $1,000 output. Table 1 also shows direct labor coefficients for each industry. Direct labor coefficients are the full time equivalent staff hired in each industry. Labor values for each industry are the sum of direct labor values and the labor embodied in the inputs purchased by that industry. For example, the labor embodied in the commodities produced by "Food Services and Drinking Places" includes the labor embodied in commodities purchased by such establishements from the Construction; Real Estate; Miscellaneous Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; and Wholesale Trade industries.

I can think of other analyses to do with this and related data, such as some measure of average wage in an appropriate numeraire. For example, one might examine the rate of exploitation, the variation in the organic composition of capital by industry, and the differences between prices and labor values.
Figure 1: 2005 Embodied Labor Values

IndustryEmbodied Labor Values
(Person-years per
Thousand $ Output)
Direct Labor Coefficient
(Person-years per
Thousand $ Output)
Social Assistance0.02190.0185
Food Services and DrinkingPlaces0.02000.0157
Forestry, Fishing, and Related Activities0.01920.0103
Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation0.01740.0138
Administrative and Support Services0.01720.0136
Educational Services0.01690.0134
Amusements, Gambling, and Recreation Industries0.01520.0122
Other Services, Except Government0.01520.0112
Hospitals and Nursing and Residental Care Facilities0.01460.0107
Warehousing and Storage0.01410.0127
Wood Products0.01410.00537
Apparel and Leather and Allied Products0.01390.00840
Retail Trade0.01370.0106
State and Local General Government0.01290.00971
Furniture and Related Products0.01280.00651
Printing and Related Support Activities0.01190.00719
Textile Mills and Textile Product Mills0.01190.00548
Other Transportation and Support Activities0.01110.00908
Federal Government Enterprises0.01050.00803
Ambulatory Health Care Services0.01030.00727
Fabricated Metal Products0.01020.00555
State and Local Government Enterprises0.009960.00525
Truck Transportation0.009890.00539
Motor Vehicles, Bodies and Trailers, and Parts0.009630.00226
Waste Management and Remediation Services0.009230.00492
Plastics and Rubber Products0.09220.00410
Misc. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services0.009140.00501
Miscellaneous Manufacturing0.009030.00450
Nonmetallic Mineral Products0.008980.00444
Paper Products0.008950.00302
Food and Beverage and Tobacco Products0.008900.00247
Computer Systems Design and Related Services0.008880.00627
Computer and Electronic Products0.008800.00340
Electrical Equipment, Appliances, and Components0.008800.00393
Information and Data Processing Services0.008690.00339
Other Transportation Equipment0.008470.00349
Air Transportation0.008410.00352
Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, Museums, Etc.0.008310.00512
Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries0.008210.00371
Federal General Government0.008120.00430
Wholesale Trade0.008110.00526
Insurance Carriers and Related Activities0.008050.00372
Rental and Leasing Services and Lessors of Intangible Assets0.007840.00243
Water Transportation0.007800.00159
Legal Services0.007580.00512
Management of Companies and Enterprises0.007570.00469
Publishing Industries (Includes Software)0.007510.00317
Primary Metals0.007360.00237
Rail Transportation0.006860.00326
Support Activities for Mining0.006560.00263
Fed. Reserve Banks, Credit Intermediation, Etc.0.006350.00408
Mining, Except Oil and Gas0.006230.00329
Chemical Products0.006210.00160
Broadcasting and Telecommunications0.005980.00188
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Investments0.005420.00246
Pipeline Transportation0.005240.000922
Funds, Trusts, and Other Financial Vehicles0.005140.000918
Real Estate0.003260.000687
Petroleum and Coal Products0.003250.000274
Oil and Gas Extraction0.002500.000507


Mike Beggs said...

Hi Robert,

Interesting stuff. One thing you might want to consider is whether actual hours worked is a good representation of 'labour values'. Some Marxian economists like Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho dismiss the possibility of making this quantification at all, but obviously some kind of quantification is necessary if you're going to do quantitative research!

One modification that seems especially important though is some kind of reduction from skilled to simple labour, since if you want to disaggregate value by industry, it seems likely that the average skill level would be higher in some industries than others. The easiest way to do this is probably to follow Keynes assumption (with regard to his 'labour-unit') and assume that wage differentials represent skill differentials. Of course that's not realistic but it depends on what you see 'labour values' as actually being, I guess.

Robert Vienneau said...

Thanks for the comment. In addition to the reduction of abstract labor to concrete labors, I might want to worry about the distinction between productive and unproductive labor. On the other hand, I'd like to take the Bureau of Economic Analysis data as close to possible as is. But I'm not sure where I want to go with this.

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