Productivity in the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.5% in the third quarter of this year, better than the 4.1% rate of increase for the economy's overall nonfarm business sector, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Nov. 3.
The third-quarter rate of productivity growth in U.S. manufacturing was nearly a full percentage point better than the second quarter's 3.6% growth rate. Third-quarter productivity increased as output of the nation's factories rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.1% and the hours worked fell 1.4%, the Labor Department said.
Unit labor costs in manufacturing fell 1.6% during the third quarter, a reversal of consecutive increases going back four quarters. The decline in unit labor costs during the third quarter was most dramatic among durable goods producers. Unit labor costs fell 4.7% in the third quarter, compared with a 4% increase in the second quarter of this year.