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Tags: Productivity

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POST » 6th November, 2019 » US Q3 (Prelim) Productivity

A rather disappointing first assessment of US productivity in the third quarter.  Non-farm productivity registered the first qoq decline since the end of 2015.  On the positive side the yoy rate still looks a reasonable 1.4%, compared to a 5-year average of 1.1%, but the trend still lacks much conviction.  Really, we’re still flatlining at best.  Labour costs were stronger than expected, rising at a 3.6% annualised rate in the non-farm sector overall.  That’ll raise the heckles of the hawks that view the tight labour market as a risk.

A very strong Q1 non-farm productivity report, partly flattered by a surprisingly soft unit labour costs number.  Obviously, GDP growth has been strong, and with employment growth running at a consistent weight the implication is that productivity had to have accelerated.  But there are some other distortions within the mix.

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