Research >> Economics
3Q2015 Productivity Growth Increased 1.6%
Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 1.6-percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 1.2 percent and hours worked decreased 0.5 percent. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) The decline in hours worked was the first decline in this series since a 4.8-percent decline in the third quarter of 2009. From the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015, productivity increased 0.4 percent, reflecting increases in output and hours worked of 2.3 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased 1.4 percent in the third quarter of 2015, reflecting a 3.0-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 1.6-percent increase in productivity. Unit labor costs increased 2.0 percent over the last four quarters.
Nonfarm business sector hours worked declined 0.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015, reflecting a decline of 0.9 percent in average weekly hours worked that was partially offset by an increase of 0.5 percent in employment. The increase in employment--which includes employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers--was the smallest since a 0.3-percent increase in the third quarter of 2010. Over the last four quarters, hours worked increased 1.9 percent, employment increased 2.2 percent, and average weekly hours worked declined 0.4 percent.
Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2015--the largest gain since a 6.1-percent increase in the third quarter of 2011--as output increased 2.7 percent and hours worked decreased 2.1 percent. Productivity increased 7.3 percent in the durable goods manufacturing sector--also the largest gain since the third quarter of 2011, when this series increased 8.7 percent. Productivity increased 1.3 percent in the nondurable goods sector. Over the last four quarters, manufacturing productivity increased 1.5 percent, as output increased 1.8 percent and hours increased 0.4 percent. Unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 0.9 percent in the third quarter of 2015 and increased 0.5 percent from the same quarter a year ago.
In the second quarter of 2015, nonfarm business sector productivity increased 3.5 percent, rather than 3.3 percent as reported on September 2. The revised figure reflects a 0.4 percentage point upward revision to output which was larger than a 0.1 percentage point upward revision to hours worked. Unit labor costs decreased 1.8 percent during the second quarter - rather than decreasing 1.4 percent as previously reported--due to both a 0.2 percentage point upward revision to productivity and a 0.1 percentage point downward revision to hourly compensation. In the manufacturing sector, productivity growth was revised down to 2.1 percent from a previous estimate of 2.3 percent, reflecting a small downward revision to output and a small upward revision to hours. Unit labor costs decreased 2.0 percent rather than 2.2 percent.
Posted: November 5, 2015 Thursday 08:30 AM