U.S. Productivity Increases 6.9%

March 4, 2010
However unit labor costs decreased 4.7% from the same quarter a year ago, the largest four-quarter decline since 1948.

During the fourth quarter of 2009, nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 6.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on March 4.

The gain in productivity reflects a 7.6% increase in output partially offset by a 0.6% increase in hours worked.

From the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009, productivity increased 5.8% as output declined 0.2% and hours fell 5.7%. The annual measure of productivity increased 3.8% from 2008 to 2009.

Unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses fell 5.9% in the fourth quarter of 2009, the result of productivity increasing faster than hourly compensation.

Unit labor costs decreased 4.7% from the same quarter a year ago, the largest four-quarter decline since the series began in 1948. The annual average index of unit labor costs declined 1.7% from 2008 to 2009.

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