Productivity in the American workplace was up 2.9 percent in the third quarter after a decline for the previous three-month period. With labor costs in check, there was little sign of inflation in the report Wednesday.
In a revised report, the Labor Department said the increase in non-farm productivity was higher than the seasonally adjusted 2.7 annualized rate initially reported for the July-September period.Productivity, defined as output per number of hours worked, rebounded from a 2.1 percent decline in the second quarter. The decline in the April-June period was the first since a 2 percent decrease in the January-March period of 1993 and the steepest since a 3.7 percent plunge in the first quarter of 1989.
Higher productivity means companies are producing their goods more efficiently and at a lower cost.
The report said also there was no increase in unit labor costs, which represent about two thirds of the cost of a product. That was even lower than the modest 0.1 percent increase initially reported.