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Economy in Brief

U.S. Worker Productivity Growth is Revised Up
by Tom Moeller  December 16, 2013

Nonfarm business sector productivity matched expectations and grew 3.0% last quarter, revised up from the initial estimate of 1.9% growth. Over the past year, however, worker productivity only ticked up 0.3%, revised from unchanged. Output rose an upwardly revised 4.7% last quarter (2.1% y/y) and hours worked increased an unrevised 1.7% (1.8% y/y). Compensation rose a strengthened 1.6% (2.4% y/y) but when adjusted for inflation it declined 1.0% in Q3 (+0.8% y/y). Unit labor costs fell 1.4% but were up a strong 2.1% y/y.

In the factory sector, worker productivity slipped at a downwardly-revised 0.1% annual rate (+2.2% y/y). Output rose a lessened 1.1% (2.3% y/y) while hours worked gained 1.2% (0.1% y/y). Worker compensation increased at a 1.3% rate (2.0% y/y). Adjusted for price inflation, compensation fell at a 1.3% rate but it nudged up 0.4% y/y. Unit labor costs increased at an unchanged 1.3% rate (-0.2% y/y) in Q3, still recovering from the 4.3% Q1 decline.

The productivity & cost figures are available in Haver's USECON database. 

Productivity & Costs (SAAR,%) Q3'13 Q2'13 Q1'13 Q3 Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Nonfarm Business Sector
Output per Hour (Productivity) 3.0 1.8 -1.7 0.3 1.5 0.5 3.2
Compensation per Hour 1.6 3.8 -5.2 2.4 2.6 2.5 2.1
Unit Labor Costs -1.4 2.0 -3.5 2.1 1.2 2.0 -1.2
Manufacturing Sector
Output per Hour -0.1 2.8 3.8 2.2 1.8 1.0 6.3
Compensation per Hour 1.3 3.3 -0.7 2.0 1.9 1.3 2.4
Unit Labor Costs 1.3 0.5 -4.3 -0.2 0.1 0.4 -3.7
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