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U.S. Productivity Falls 3.1% in First Quarter

Wall Street Journal (06/04/15) Jeffrey Sparshott; Josh Mitchell

Worker productivity declined at a 3.1% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 3.0% decline from the fourth quarter of 2014.

Meanwhile, unit labor costs rose at a 6.7% annual rate. Economists had forecast a 6.0% increase.

Productivity data can be volatile from quarter to quarter and often are substantially changed. Despite the data shortcomings, overall trends have been lackluster, falling for two consecutive quarters, the first time that has happened since 2006.