U.S. labor productivity increases 2.5 percent in Q2; labor costs up

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Labor productivity in the U.S. climbed to a higher-than-anticipated number in the second quarter, according to official data, while the increase in labor costs was smaller than economists expected.

Labor productivity rose by 2.5 percent in the second quarter, according to the report released by the Labor Department on Friday, compared to estimates for a 1.5 percent gain.

The larger than estimated increase in productivity came following a downwardly revised 4.5 percent decline in productivity in the first three months of the year that was initially reported at a 3.2 percent drop.

The rise in productivity, which gauges output per hour, also came as output rose by 5.2 percent in the latest period after falling 2.4 percent in the first quarter.

The report also showed that hours worked also climbed by 2.7 percent, compared to the 2.1 percent gain in the first quarter.

Reflecting the rise in productivity is the 0.6 percent increase in unit labor costs in the second quarter after the first quarter figure was upwardly revised to an 11.8 percent gain.

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