National

Aug 8, 2012 8:44 AM

US worker productivity up 1.6 pct. in 2nd quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. workers increased their productivity in the April-June quarter, although the gains are probably not enough to slow hiring.

The Labor Department says productivity rose at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter. It fell 0.5 percent in the first quarter, a smaller decline than first estimated.

Productivity is the amount of output per hour worked. Rising productivity can slow job creation because it means companies are getting more from their current work forces and don't need to add workers.

But productivity is increasing at a relatively weak pace. It is up only 1.1 percent compared to a year ago. Since 1947, productivity gains have averaged 2.2 percent a year.

Labor costs rose 1.7 percent. That's below the first quarter's revised 5.6 percent gain.

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