September 5, 2019 / 12:53 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. second-quarter productivity unrevised at 2.3%

WASHINGTON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - U.S. worker productivity slowed in the second quarter, the government confirmed on Thursday, as productivity in the manufacturing sector declined by the most in nearly two years.

FILE PHOTO: Workers assemble a Ford truck at the new Louisville Ford truck plant in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

The Labor Department said nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, increased at an unrevised 2.3% annualized rate in the last quarter.

Productivity also rose at an unrevised 3.5% rate in the first quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had expected second-quarter productivity would be revised down to a 2.2% rate.

Manufacturing productivity fell at a 2.2% rate in the second quarter, instead of the 1.6% pace estimated last month. That was the weakest since the third quarter of 2017 and followed a 1.2% pace of increase in the first three months of the year.

The moderate growth in overall productivity was flagged by a deceleration in gross domestic product growth in the April-June period. The economy grew at a 2.0% rate in the second quarter after expanding at a 3.1% pace in the first quarter.

Compared to the second quarter of 2018, productivity increased at a rate of 1.8% as reported last month.

Unit labor costs, the price of labor per single unit of output, rose at a 2.6% rate in the second quarter, rather than the previously estimated 2.4% pace. Unit labor costs surged at a 5.7% rate in the first quarter.

Compared to the second quarter of 2018, labor costs rose at a 2.6% rate, instead of the 2.5% pace reported last month, suggesting inflation could remain moderate.

Hourly compensation was revised slightly up to show it increasing at a 4.9% pace, rather than at a 4.8% pace. Hourly compensation increased at a 4.4% rate compared to the second quarter of 2018. It was previously estimated to have risen at a 4.3% pace.

Hours worked dropped at an unrevised 0.4% rate, the biggest decline since the third quarter of 2009. Hours worked rose at a 0.4% pace in the first quarter. They increased at a 0.9% rate compared to the second quarter of 2018.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Editing by Paul Simao

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