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U.S. productivity growth rate revised to 2.8 percent in first quarter
Date: 2010/6/7 Click: 1267
Productivity in the U.S. nonfarm business sector grew at a slower annual rate of 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2010, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

The revised first-quarter reading for productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, was lower than the 3.6 percent gain that the government had initially reported a month ago.

While productivity increased, wage pressures still eased in the January-March quarter.

Employers' unit labor costs, or costs of wages and benefits for each unit of output, also dropped at a slower annual rate of 1.3 percent, compared with the previous estimate of 1.6 percent decline.

Productivity is considered the key ingredient needed for rising living standards because it allows companies to pay their workers more without having to raise the price of their products, which fuels inflation.

A slowing in productivity gains could actually be good news for the economy. It would mean that businesses have ended the heavy layoffs that were occurring during the depths of the recession.

The Commerce Department reported last month that the gross domestic product, the economy's overall output of goods and services, increased at an annual rate of 3.0 percent in the first quarter of 2010.
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