Thursday, February 3, 2011

Productivity Continues Hot Streak

Bloomberg details (bold mine):

The productivity of U.S. workers unexpectedly increased in the fourth quarter at a faster rate as companies sought to contain costs.

The measure of employee output per hour rose at a 2.6 percent annual rate, compared with a revised 2.4 percent gain in the previous three months, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Economists projected a 2 percent advance, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Labor expenses fell for fifth time in six quarters.

“There is a good chance that productivity will slow further this year, as firms are increasingly forced to hire more workers to expand output,” Paul shworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto, said in a note to clients. “That is good news for the unemployed.”

Source: BLS