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September 06, 2002
2Q Productivity Up 1.5 Percent
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The Labor Department reported Thursday that productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, rose at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, based on revised figures.

While that's better than the 1.1 percent rate estimated a month ago, the final estimate shows second-quarter productivity growing at a much slower rate than the 8.6 percent rate posted in the first quarter.

Nevertheless, for the 12 months ending in June, productivity rose by a sizable 4.8 percent. That's the best showing since 1983.

In the second quarter, businesses trimmed workers' hours at a rate of 0.7 percent, the same as previously estimated. Business output increased at a rate of 0.8 percent in the April-June period, stronger than previously thought.

With productivity growth moderating in the second quarter, unit labor costs, what a worker is paid for each unit of production - went up. Unit labor costs rose at a rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 4.6 percent rate of decline in the first quarter.

Manufacturing. In the second quarter of 2002, productivity increased 4.3 percent in manufacturing, as output increased 3.6 percent and hours of all persons declined 0.7 percent (seasonally adjusted annual rates). Hours worked in manufacturing had the smallest decline since the second quarter of 2000, when they increased 0.5 percent. In the durable goods sector, productivity grew
6.0 percent in the second quarter of 2002, as output grew 5.4 percent and hours declined 0.6 percent. In nondurable goods, output per hour rose 2.6 percent as output increased 1.8 percent and hours decreased 0.8 percent.

The hourly compensation of all manufacturing workers increased 3.0 percent during the second quarter of 2002, reflecting a 2.8-percent rise in hourly compensation in durable goods industries and a 3.4-percent increase in the nondurable goods sector. Real hourly compensation in the total manufacturing sector declined 0.4 percent in the second quarter, after increasing 5.4 percent one quarter earlier.

Unit labor costs in manufacturing fell 1.2 percent in the second quarter of 2002. This was the fourth consecutive quarterly decline in the series.Unit labor costs decreased 3.1 percent in durable goods and increased 0.8 percent in nondurable goods in the second quarter of 2002.


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