Skip nav to main content.

Productivity Ticks Higher

Labor productivity increased 2.2 percent during the third quarter of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of…

  • November 19, 2018

Labor productivity increased 2.2 percent during the third quarter of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Output increased 4.1 percent and hours worked increased 1.8 percent.

From the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, productivity increased just 1.3 percent, reflecting a 3.7-percent increase in output and a 2.4-percent increase in hours worked.

Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers.

Rising productivity has been a big driver of economic growth over time. When businesses can produce more goods and services using relatively less labor, their profits increase. This leads to higher investment, and growth.

To get to where we were during strong years in the 1980s and 1990s we’ll have to see productivity gains well over 2.5% annually, on a sustained basis. We’re not there yet.

Leave a Comment