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U.S. productivity improved at ho-hum 1.5%. rate in spring

WASHINGTON – U.S. workers’ productivity rose a bit more this spring than initially reported, but the gains were relatively weak and a key reason why recent economic growth has been modest.

The Labor Department says productivity grew at a revised annual rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter. That’s up from an initial estimate of a 0.9 percent increase and comes after a slight 0.1 percent rate of increase in the first quarter. Labor costs increased at just a rate of just 0.2 percent in the second quarter, a major drop-off from a 4.8 percent growth rate in the first quarter.

Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, has been weak throughout the nine-year recovery. Many economists say this has stifled pay raises and broader economic growth.


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