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U.S. Productivity Increases at 3.3% Pace in Second Quarter

Wall Street Journal (09/02/15) Kate Davidson; Anna Louie Sussman

Worker productivity grew this spring, reflecting improvement in economic activity following a slow start to the year. Nonfarm worker productivity rose at a 3.3% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The pace was the strongest since the fourth quarter of 2013. Productivity was up 0.7% from a year ago. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 3% increase from the first quarter.

Meanwhile, unit labor costs declined at a 1.4% annual rate in the second quarter. Unit labor costs were up 1.7% from a year ago.

The advance in productivity in the second quarter largely mirrors increased economic output. Gross domestic product grew at a 3.7% annual pace in the second quarter, up significantly from the first quarter’s lackluster 0.6% advance.