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U.S. Productivity Hits Nine-Year High

The productivity of the American work force posted its best quarterly performance in nine years, an efficiency that helped drive down labor costs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that non-farm productivity shot up 4.8 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from April through June, even stronger than its 3 percent initial estimate last month.

The increase was the biggest since productivity - defined as output per number of hours worked - jumped 7 percent in the first three months of 1986.

It was much larger than the 3.5 percent improvement that many analysts had expected and followed a 2.5 percent gain in the latest January-March quarter.

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