Business

US productivity declines most in nearly two years

Productivity declined at a 2 per cent annual rate, the sharpest drop since the first quarter of 2011 and a larger fall than the 1.3 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll. — AFP picProductivity declined at a 2 per cent annual rate, the sharpest drop since the first quarter of 2011 and a larger fall than the 1.3 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll. — AFP picWASHINGTON, Feb 7 — US nonfarm productivity fell in the fourth quarter by the most in nearly two years as output increased marginally despite steady gains in employment, the Labour Department said today.

Productivity declined at a 2 per cent annual rate, the sharpest drop since the first quarter of 2011 and a larger fall than the 1.3 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll.

Output rose 0.1 per cent outside the farm sector, while hours worked rose by 2.2 per cent.

Productivity is expected to rebound in the current period because analysts believe weak output during the fourth quarter was partially due to temporary factors like an unusually sharp decline in government spending on the military.

Data last week showed output in the overall economy contracted 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, and analysts expect gross domestic product to return to growth early this year.

Unit labour costs — a gauge of the labour-related cost for any given unit of output — jumped at 4.5 per cent rate in the fourth quarter, beating analysts’ expectations of a 3 per cent gain. — Reuters

Comments

Please note that you must sign up with disqus.com before commenting. And, please refrain from comments of a racist, sexist, personal, vulgar or derogatory nature and note that comments can be edited, rewritten for clarity or to avoid questionable issues. As comments are moderated, they may not appear immediately or even on the same day you posted them. We also reserve the right to delete off-topic comments