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U.S. Labor Productivity Climbs 0.9% In Q2, More Than Expected

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Labor productivity in the U.S. increased by slightly more than expected in the second quarter, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday.

The report said labor productivity climbed by 0.9 percent in the second quarter after inching up by a revised 0.1 percent in the first quarter.

Economists had expected productivity to increase by 0.7 percent compared to the unchanged reading that had been reported for the previous quarter.

The bigger than expected increase in productivity, a measure of output per hour, came as output increased by more than hours worked.

Output surged up by 3.4 percent in the second quarter after climbing by 1.8 percent in the first quarter, while hours worked jumped by 2.5 percent in the second quarter after rising by 1.6 percent in the first quarter.

The Labor Department also said unit labor costs rose by 0.6 percent in the second quarter following an upwardly revised 5.4 percent spike in the first quarter.

Unit labor costs had been expected to climb by 1.2 percent compared to the 2.2 percent jump that had been reported for the previous quarter.

The report said hourly compensation increased by 1.6 percent in the second quarter after soaring by 5.5 percent in the first quarter.

Real hourly compensation, which takes changes in consumer prices into account, climbed by 1.9 percent in the second quarter following a 2.3 percent jump in the first quarter.

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, productivity was up by 1.2 percent in the second quarter, as output climbed by 2.7 percent and hours worked increased by 1.5 percent.

Meanwhile, unit labor costs were down by 0.2 year-over-year in the second quarter, as the productivity growth offset a 1.0 increase in hourly compensation.

by RTT Staff Writer

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