U.S. second-quarter productivity growth unrevised at 2.9
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[September 06, 2018]
WASHINGTON(Reuters) - U.S.
worker productivity rose at its fastest pace in more than three years in
the second quarter, as previously reported, but the trend in
productivity growth remained moderate.
The Labor Department said on Thursday nonfarm productivity, which
measures hourly output per worker, increased at an unrevised 2.9 percent
annualized rate in the April-June quarter. That was the strongest pace
since the first quarter of 2015.
Productivity grew at a 0.3 percent rate in the first quarter.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast second-quarter productivity
being raised to a 3.0 percent rate, in line with a modest upward
revision to gross domestic product growth for that period. The economy
grew at a 4.2 percent rate in the April-June period, almost double the
2.2 percent pace logged in the first quarter.
Compared to the second quarter of 2017, productivity increased at an
unrevised rate of 1.3 percent. That suggests the second-quarter GDP
growth pace is probably unsustainable.
Productivity grew at an average rate of 1.3 percent between 2007 and
2017. That was slower than the 2.7 percent average pace between 2000 and
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A worker cuts a steel coil at a steel mill in Farrell, Pennsylvania,
U.S., March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo
Strong productivity in the second quarter weighed on growth in labor costs. Unit
labor costs, the price of labor per single unit of output, fell at a 1.0 percent
pace in the second quarter, rather than the 0.9 percent rate estimated last
That was the weakest pace since the third quarter of 2014. Unit labor costs grew
at a 3.4 percent pace in the first quarter. Labor costs increased at an
unrevised 1.9 percent rate compared to the second quarter of 2017, pointing to
moderate wage inflation.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Editing by Paul Simao) ((Lucia.Mutikani
@thomsonreuters.com; 1 202 898 8315; Reuters Messaging:
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