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May 06, 2004
Productivity Continues to Rise

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 Statistics.

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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.

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