US worker productivity up modestly in April-June

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Associated Press

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 16 at 8:04 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. worker productivity accelerated to a still-modest 0.9 percent annual pace between April and June after dropping the previous quarter.

The second-quarter gain reversed a decline in the January-March quarter, when the Labor Department's revised numbers show productivity shrank at a 1.7 percent annual pace.

Labor costs rose at a 1.4 percent annual pace from April through June, reversing a revised 4.2 percent drop the previous quarter.

Productivity measures output per hour of work. Weak productivity suggests that companies may have to hire because they can't squeeze more work from their existing employees.

Productivity growth has been weaker recently, rising 1.5 percent in 2012 and 0.5 percent in 2011.

In 2009 and 2010, annual productivity growth averaged above 3 percent and has been about 2 percent dating from 1947.

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