Third-Quarter Manufacturing Productivity Revised Downward

The U.S. Labor Department has gone over the numbers again and revised the third-quarter U.S. productivity figures it released Nov. 3. The new numbers show that productivity growth in manufacturing was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.4%, significantly below both the 4.5% rate initially reported and the revised 4% rate for the second calendar quarter of this year. For the July-through-September quarter of 2005, the department revised downward to 2.4% from 3.1% the annual rate of change in manufacturing output and revised the decrease in hours worked to an annual rate of 1% from 1.4%. These changes also affected unit labor costs in manufacturing for the quarter. Costs declined at a revised annual rate of three-tenths of a percent rather than the 1.6% rate of decline reported earlier.

For the larger non-farm business sector of the economy, of which manufacturing is a part, the Labor Department's revised third-quarter numbers show productivity growing at an annual rate of 4.7%, more than half a percentage higher than the initial rate of 4.1%. Both output and hours worked were higher than initially reported.

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