Productivity growth modest in first quarter
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nonfarm productivity rose modestly in the first quarter as growth in output accelerated sharply and employers throttled back gains in the hours that their staffs worked.
Productivity increased at a 0.7 percent annual rate, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected productivity to gain at a 1.2 percent rate.
Productivity fell at a 1.7 percent rate in the fourth quarter, according to revised figures.
Output rose at a 2.5 percent rate in the first quarter after weak government spending held the economy to marginal growth in the last three months of 2012. The growth rate for the number of hours worked, however, slowed to 1.8 percent in the first quarter.
Unit labor costs - a gauge of the labor-related cost for any given unit of output - rose at a 0.5 percent rate in the first three months of the year, just below forecasts of economists polled by Reuters.
- Israel warns of long Gaza war as Palestinian fighters cross border |
- West agrees wider Russia sanctions as Kiev says forces near crash site
- Court orders Russia to pay $50 billion for seizing Yukos assets |
- Man found dead trapped between elevator and shaft wall in NYC
- Wall Street yawns as deal news offsets data; Herbalife sinks