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Thursday 13th of August 2009
August 11, 2009

US productivity rises at fastest pace for six years


by Kay Murchie
”US

Figures released today by the Department of Labor revealed that US productivity rose at its fastest annual pace since the third quarter of 2003.

Productivity rose at 6.4% in the second quarter of 2009, up from a revised 0.3% rise in the January to March quarter - productivity for the first quarter was previously reported as a 1.6% gain.

Labour costs fell 5.8% on an annual basis during the same period - this was the sharpest fall since 2000 and follows a fall of 2.7% in the previous quarter.

Companies have been reducing headcount and hours in order to slash costs as demand for their goods has slowed.

The number of hours worked fell at an annual rate of 7.6% in the April to June quarter, reflecting the rise in unemployment, said the Labor Department.

In related news, last week the Labor Department revealed that 247,000 jobs were lost in July in the world‘s largest economy - much less than analysts had forecast.

The decline meant the US unemployment rate dropped from 9.5% in June to 9.4% in July - the first fall since April 2008.

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