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June 02, 2005
Productivity Rises, Hourly Compensation Higher

Productivity grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2005, according to a revised report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. The revised report also showed that hourly compensation grew at a much faster pace in the first quarter of 2005 and the fourth quarter of 2004 than initially estimated.

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The bureau initially reported that productivity rose 2.6 percent.

In the first quarter, the 2.9-percent increase in productivity reflected a 4.0-percent rise in output and a 1.1-percent increase in hours of all persons. In fourth-quarter 2004, productivity grew 2.3 percent as output grew 3.7 percent and hours increased 1.4 percent.

Hourly compensation increased 6.3 percent in the first quarter of 2005. After revision, this measure grew at a 10.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2004--faster than in any quarter since the first quarter of 2000, when hourly compensation increased 14.5 percent.

When the rise in consumer prices is taken into account, real hourly compensation rose 3.9 in the first quarter of 2005. Real hourly compensation had increased 6.4 percent in the previous quarter, according to the revised report.

Unit labor costs grew 3.3 percent during the first quarter of 2005, less than the 7.7-percent increase in the fourth quarter, as revised.

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