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Productivity Increases More Than Expected In First Quarter

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

The government says U.S. workers were more productive in the first quarter than previously estimated, as rapid layoffs meant companies were forced to make do with fewer employees.

The Labor Department said Thursday productivity, the amount of output per hour worked, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.6% in the January-March period, double the government's estimate last month.

That is also above analysts' expectations of 1.2% growth.

Higher productivity can raise living standards because workers that produce more can earn higher wages without forcing companies to raise prices.

But the increase resulted from a sharp cut in hours worked, which fell at a faster pace than output.


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