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August 09, 2007
Productivity Picks Up Steam

Productivity--as measured by output per hour of all persons--grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 2007, up from 0.7 percent in the first quarter, according to a preliminary report by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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In the second quarter, output grew 4.2 percent and hours of all persons increased 2.3 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rates). Revised results for the first quarter of 2007 showed that productivity increased 0.7 percent, output rose 0.3 percent, and hours declined 0.3 percent.

Output per hour had increased at an average annual rate of 2.7 percent from 2000 through 2006.

Meanwhile, hourly compensation in increased 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2007, similar to a 3.7-percent rise one quarter earlier.

When the 6.0-percent rise in consumer prices is taken into account, real hourly compensation fell 2.0 percent in the second quarter of 2007. It had fallen 0.2 percent in the first quarter.

Unit labor costs increased 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2007 and 3.0 percent in the first quarter. Unit labor costs increased more from the second quarter of 2006 to the second quarter of 2007, 4.5 percent, than during any four-quarter period since third-quarter 1999 to third-quarter 2000, when they increased 5.0 percent.

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