May 5, 2000 (The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.)

Productivity gain in first quarter

Productivity, as measured by output per hour, increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.4 percent in the nonfarm business sector in the first quarter. Output increased 6.0 percent and hours of all persons rose 3.6 percent.

Growth in output per hour of all persons, nonfarm business, seasonally adjusted, 1998 II-2000 I (percent change from previous quarter at annual rate)
[Chart data—TXT]

During the fourth quarter of 1999, productivity had increased 6.9 percent in this sector, reflecting gains of 8.5 percent in output and 1.5 percent in hours.

Unit labor costs rose 1.8 percent in the first quarter, after falling 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999. Unit labor costs—the cost of the labor input required to produce one unit of output—are computed by dividing labor costs in nominal terms by real output.

These data are a product of the BLS Quarterly Labor Productivity program. Data are subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Productivity and Costs, First Quarter 2000," news release USDL 00-125.

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