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June 01, 2006
Productivity Better than First Thought

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Productivity grew at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter, according to a revised report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

In a preliminary report in May, the bureau reported that productivity increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent.

Productivity rose 3.7 percent during the first quarter of 2006, as output increased 6.5 percent and hours of all persons increased 2.7 percent. The hours increase was larger than during any quarter in 2005.

In the fourth quarter of 2005, productivity had declined 0.3 percent, the first dip in productivity since the first quarter of 2001.

In the first quarter of 2006, hourly compensation increased 5.3 percent. After revision, this measure decreased at a 0.9 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2005--the first decline in hourly compensation since 1994, when it fell 0.8 percent in the second quarter and 0.3 percent in the third quarter.

When the rise in consumer prices is taken into account, real hourly compensation rose 3.2 in the first quarter of 2006 and fell 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Unit labor costs grew 1.6 percent during the first quarter of 2006, following a 0.6-percent decline in the fourth quarter of 2005, as revised.

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