US productivity growth unrevised at 5.4% rate in Q1

Business

FILE – In this Thursday, April 22, 2021 file photo, Marie Tibbott sorts product at EIP Manufacturing in Earlville, Iowa. Growth in U.S. manufacturing picked up in May, even as supply chain problems persist and businesses continue to struggle to find workers. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday, June 1 that its index of manufacturing activity rose in May to a reading of 61.2 from 60.7 in April. (Jessica Reilly/Telegraph Herald via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity growth was unrevised at a 5.4% rate in the first three months of the year while labor costs rose at an even faster rate.

The first quarter gain in productivity was unchanged from the initial estimate a month ago, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The 5.4% gain at a seasonally adjusted annual rate followed a steep plunge at a 3.8% rate in the fourth quarter.

Labor costs rose at a 1.7% rate in the first quarter, up from the initial estimate that labor costs had fallen 0.3% in the first quarter.

Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, showed turned in weak gains over the record-long economic expansion that ended with the pandemic-triggered recession last year.

Economists are hoping that some of the efficiencies businesses have implemented to cope with the pandemic may lead to stronger productivity gains in coming years.

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