U.S. Manufacturing Productivity Revised Upward

Productivity in U.S. factories grew even faster in the fourth quarter of 2004 than the federal government first reported on Feb. 3.

In the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy, productivity grew at an annual rate of 5.8% during the final three months of last year, two-tenths of a percentage point higher than the 5.6% the U.S. Labor Department initially reported. Output grew at an annual rate of 4.6% in the fourth quarter and hours worked fell at an annual rate of 1.1%.

Among producers of durable goods, generally big ticket items such as appliances, autos, and airplanes that are designed to last three or more years, productivity increased at an annual rate of 7.1% in the final calendar quarter of 2004, as output grew at a 6% rate and hours fell at a 1% rate. Among manufacturers of non-durable goods, productivity rose at a 3.9% rate in the fourth quarter as output rose at a rate of 2.5% and hours declined at a 1.3% rate.

For full-year 2004, manufacturing productivity grew 5.2%, as output increased 4.8% and hours fell four-tenths of a percentage point. Last year's productivity gain in manufacturing matched 2003's 5.2% gain, although 2003's gain was a result almost entirely of fewer hours worked as output remained virtually unchanged from 2002.

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