In this Wednesday, June 3, 2020 photo, a manager at the Presidente Supermarket uses a forklift to move a shipment of food at the store in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. U.S. productivity fell at a 0.9% rate in the first three months of this year, a smaller decline than first estimated, while labor costs rose at a slightly faster pace. The Labor Department reported Thursday that the first quarter decline in productivity was smaller than the initial estimate a month ago of a 2.5% drop. Labor costs rose at a 5.1% rate, slightly faster than the 4.8% increase first reported.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

US productivity increased at 4.6% rate in third quarter

WASHINGTON — U.S. productivity increased at a solid 4.6% pace in the July-September quarter, slightly below the initial estimate, while labour costs fell at a slower pace.

The third quarter increase in productivity was below the first estimate a month ago of a 4.9% increase, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Productivity had surged at a 10.6% rate in the second quarter.

Labour costs fell at a 6.6% rate in the third quarter , a smaller drop than the 8.9% decline estimated a month ago.

Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, is the major factor determining living standards. As productivity rises, employers can pay their workers more without having to boost the price of their products.

The revisions reflected the fact that there was a 0.1 percentage-point downward revision in output and a 0.3 percentage-point upward revision to hours worked.

Economists cautioned that the swings in productivity this year have been unusually large and are distorting the underlying trend in productivity.

“The data have been especially volatile quarter-to-quarter reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on output, hours and compensation,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “The underlying trend in productivity will likely moderate from the current pace over coming quarters.”

The big increase in productivity in the second quarter occurred because employers were laying off millions of workers and the decline people working was greater than the drop in production that occurred in the spring as a result of the widespread shutdowns to try to contain the coronavirus.

For all of 2019, productivity rose by a modest 1.7% following an even weaker 1.4% gain in 2018..

Productivity has lagged in recent years and economists have cited this slowdown as one of the major problems facing the country since sluggish productivity growth keeps living standards from rising at a faster pace.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

If you're heading out to the West Country have a plan in case things go wrong, says Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services fire chief Steve Debienne.
(Photo from CRFRS Facebook)
West Country visitors should have an emergency plan: regional fire chief

Cellphones can’t be relied on in many back country areas

Rode
Sarcevic leads an impressive list of additions to RDC Kings soccer

In 2019 the RDC Kings soccer program took a major step forward… Continue reading

The Red Deer PCN Women's Fun Run will take on a different look this weekend with rising COVID-19 numbers.
Women’s Fun Run goes ahead this weekend in Red Deer

With new public health measures in place because of rising COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

LtE bug
Letter: Security company can help with shelter

Why don’t we leave Safe Harbour temporary shelter where it is and… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Good job on K-6 curriculum

Many are questioning the quality of the draft K-6 curriculum. It amazes… Continue reading

Treena Mielke
COVID becomes all too real when someone you love is ‘positive’

The third wave of the pandemic is hitting us hard. It is… Continue reading

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Toronto Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez (37) hits a single to drive in two runs against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame 2019 inductee Jayna Hefford speaks in Toronto on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, centre, makes a shot as lead Briane Meilleur, left, and second Shannon Birchard sweep against Denmark at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

Most Read