Paced By Durable Goods, Manufacturing Productivity Rises 2.6%

Manufacturing productivity increased at an annual rate of 2.6% from April through June of this year, according to revised second-quarter 2006 figures released September 6 by the U.S. Labor Department. Output rose at an annual rate of 5.1% and workers' hours increased 2.4%.

The latest second-quarter productivity figure for manufacturing is four-tenths of a percentage point below the department's initial estimate of 3%. However, revised manufacturing productivity still outpaced the 1.6% annual rate posted by the larger non-farm business sector of the U.S. economy.

From April through June, productivity among makers of durable goods increased at an annual rate of 3.7% as output grew at an annual rate of 7.7% and workers' hours advanced 3.9%. Productivity among producers of nondurable goods rose at an annual rate of 2.3% as output increased at an annual rate of 2.1% and workers' hours fell two-tenths of a percentage point.

Unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 1.3% during the second quarter of this year, down dramatically from the first quarter's 9.3%. Unit labor costs increased half a percentage point for durable goods manufacturers and 1.1% for makers of non-durables during the second quarter.

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