In dramatic contrast to the overall non-farm business sector of the U.S. economy, in which productivity was unchanged from July through September, the manufacturing sector posted a seasonally adjusted 5.9% annual rate of gain, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Nov. 2.
Productivity advanced at an 8.6% rate among makers of durable goods during the third quarter. Productivity rose at a 2% rate among producers of non-durable goods.
At the same time productivity was rising among manufacturers, unit labor costs were coming down. Unit labor costs declined 2.9% from July through September, a product of a 3.5% decline in unit labor costs among durable goods makers and a 2.5% decline among manufacturers of non-durable goods. In the second quarter unit labor costs had risen 1.2%.