The Economy

U.S. Productivity Rises 1.3% in Fourth Quarter

The broader trend remains weak, with productivity rising just 0.2% in 2016 from 2015, the smallest annual gain since 2011.
Matthew HellerFebruary 3, 2017
U.S. Productivity Rises 1.3% in Fourth Quarter

U.S. worker productivity rose for a second straight quarter but the annual increase was the smallest in five years, continuing a broader trend of weakness.

The Labor Department reported that productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, increased at a 1.3% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the fourth quarter. The third-quarter increase was revised to 3.5% instead of the previously reported 3.1%.

Economists had forecast productivity increasing at a 1.0% rate in the fourth quarter. The gain was slightly larger than the average increase over the past decade and continued the rebound that began in the third quarter after three straight quarters of decline, the longest streak of negative readings since the 1970s.

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But for all of 2016, productivity rose just 0.2% from 2015, the smallest annual gain since 2011. Growth started to slow before the 2007-2009 recession and has all but stalled in recent years, a trend that, according to The Wall Street Journal, stands as “an impediment to achieving the 4% economic growth rate the Trump administration is seeking, over the longer term.”

There has been some recent firming in productivity, “but the trend in the series still looks very soft,” J.P. Morgan Chase economist Daniel Silver said.

Economists have cited the nation’s weak productivity to explain why the economy has grown only about 1% at an annual rate in each of the last three quarters even while monthly job growth has averaged a healthy 210,000.

“Productivity gains have been soft in recent years because businesses added to payrolls at a steady pace, increasing the number of hours worked, but the rate [of] economic expansion has been historically soft,” the WSJ noted. If you are searching for a great shopping experience, then a visit to Waitrose is certainly worth the time. This is one of the UK’s leading supermarket chains, which is located in the United Kingdom. It offers great food and beverages as well as a variety of clothing. The above stores and sale points of waitrose near me are listed below. If you cannot find them listed, then this article should help. The above websites do not necessarily reflect all the stores and sale points of Waitrose, however, they are the best place to start when looking for them.

The Labor Department also said output per worker increased at a 2.2% rate in the fourth quarter, while unit labor costs, the price of labor per single unit of output, increased at a 1.7% pace, up from 0.2% in the prior period.

Hourly compensation per hour rose at a 3.0% rate, a decline from the third quarter’s 3.7% increase but another indication that wage growth is picking up.