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May 04, 2006
Productivity Rebounds, Compensation Rises at Quicker Pace

Productivity grew at annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Productivity had declined by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005.

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In the first quarter of 2006, output grew 5.8 percent and hours of all persons increased by 2.5 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rates). In the fourth quarter of 2005, productivity had declined 0.3 percent, reflecting increases in output and hours of 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, hourly compensation increased 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2006, more rapidly than in the fourth quarter, when it grew 2.7 percent. When the rise in consumer prices was taken into account, real hourly compensation rose 3.6 percent in the first quarter compared with a 0.6-percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Unit labor costs grew 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2006, following a 3.0-percent rise one quarter earlier.

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