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Productivity Rises More Than Forecast, U.S. Labor Costs Decline

Bloomberg (02/06/14) Shobhana Chandra

U.S. workers were more productive in the fourth quarter of 2013 than economists had forecast, which helped to temper labor costs. Employee output per hour rose at a 3.2% annualized rate, following an upwardly revised 3.6% increase in the third quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a 2.8% increase in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, expenses per employee fell at a 1.6% rate, which was more than estimated. Hours worked rose at a 1.7% rate for a second consecutive quarter.