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U.S. Productivity Rises at Modest Rate in Third Quarter

Wall Street Journal (11/05/15) Eric Morath; David Harrison

Employee productivity increased at a modest pace in the third quarter, because companies reduced hours when output gains slowed. Nonfarm worker productivity rose at a 1.6% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the third quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was a slowdown from the upwardly revised 3.5% productivity gain in the second quarter. However, the increase was above expectations. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.3% decrease from the second quarter. Productivity was up 0.4% from a year ago.

Meanwhile, unit labor costs rose at a 1.4% annual rate in the third quarter, compared with a 1.8% decline in the second quarter. Unit labor costs were up 2.0% on an annual basis.