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US productivity edges down 0.2% in third quarter

Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 9:48 AM CST
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U.S. productivity fell in the summer. It was the first decline in nearly four years and underscored the struggles companies are facing in boosting worker efficiency.

The Labor Department says that productivity edged down at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.2% in the July-September quarter. It was the first quarterly drop since the fourth quarter of 2015.

Labor costs were up at an annual rate of 2.5% in the third quarter, a sharp rebound from a tiny 0.1% increase in the second quarter. Productivity, or the amount of output per hour of work, is crucial to boosting living standards.

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