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November 04, 2005
Productivity Speeds Up

Productivity grew 4.1 percent during the third quarter of 2005 as output grew 4.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hours of all persons in edged up 0.1 percent, reflecting a 0.4-percent gain in employment and a 0.4-percent decline in average weekly hours at work. In the previous quarter, productivity increased 2.1 percent, as output grew 4.4 percent and hours worked increased by 2.2 percent.

Hourly compensation increased at a 3.6 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2005. When the rise in consumer prices is taken into account, real hourly compensation fell 1.4 percent during the July-September period. During the second quarter of 2005, real hourly compensation had declined 0.1 percent.

Unit labor costs fell 0.5 percent during the third quarter of 2005, after rising 1.8 percent in the second quarter.

The bureau says the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which struck the Gulf Coast during the third quarter, could not be separately identified in the productivity and costs measures.

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