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ECON: Productivity Lower, Labor Costs Higher
Posted to: Micro News
Thursday, February 7, 2013 8:48 AM
- Productivity -2.0 vs -1.3 consensus
- Labor Costs +4.5 vs +3.0 consensus
Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased at a 2.0 percent annual
rate during the fourth quarter of 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. The decrease in productivity reflects increases of 0.1 percent
in output and 2.2 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in
this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the fourth quarter of
2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, productivity increased 0.6 percent as
output and hours worked rose 2.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of
real output by an index of hours worked of all persons, including employees,
proprietors, and unpaid family workers.
Unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses increased 4.5 percent in the fourth
quarter of 2012, the combined effect of the 2.0 percent decrease in
productivity and a 2.4 percent increase in hourly compensation. Unit labor
costs rose 1.9 percent over the last four quarters.
BLS defines unit labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor
productivity; increases in hourly compensation tend to increase unit labor
costs and increases in output per hour tend to reduce them.
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