Productivity--as measured by worker output per hour-increased at an annual
rate of 3.5 percent in the first quarter of 2004, according to Bureau of Labor
Productivity and output increased more in the first quarter than they had in
the fourth quarter of 2003 while the hours of all persons grew more slowly.
Output increased 4.9 percent and hours of all persons increased 1.3 percent
(seasonally adjusted annual rates). In the fourth quarter of 2003, productivity
had risen 2.5 percent, revised downward from the 2.7 percent increase reported
in a February report.
Hourly compensation increased at a 4.0 percent annual rate in the first quarter
of 2004, more rapidly than the 2.5-percent increase in the fourth quarter. When
the rise in consumer prices was taken into account, real hourly compensation
grew by 0.4 percent in the first quarter; it had increased 1.7 percent in the
fourth quarter of 2003.
Unit labor costs grew 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2004; they were unchanged
in the fourth quarter of 2003.