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Manufacturing Productivity Improves

Labor productivity growth has been a big part of any sustained economic growth in the…

  • February 26, 2019

Labor productivity growth has been a big part of any sustained economic growth in the U.S.A. – yet it has been lagging for decades.

In the U.S., labor productivity (or output per worker) grew at a strong 2.2% average, annually, from 1990-2000. Then it really took off, growing at an average annual rate of 2.6% from 2000-2007. It clocked in at just 2.4% from 2007–2014.

Lately, though, we’ve seen some improvement, in some areas.

For instance, manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 1.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, as output increased 2.3 percent and hours worked increased 1.0 percent.

That’s quite an improvement: from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, manufacturing productivity increased just 0.7 percent, reflecting a 2.8-percent increase in output and a 2.1-percent increase in hours worked.

Annual average productivity increased just 0.6 percent from 2017 to 2018.

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