US productivity slows in 3rd quarter

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. productivity slowed in the summer, reflecting weaker growth in the overall economy. Labor costs increased but remained at a level that indicated only modest inflation pressures.

The Commerce Department says productivity rose at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the July-September quarter, a slowdown from a 3.5 percent increase in the second quarter.

Labor costs rose at a modest annual rate of 1.4 percent in the third quarter after having fallen at a 1.8 percent pace in the second quarter.

Productivity, the amount of output per hour of work, has slowed significantly in recent years. Economists are divided on the causes for the weakness. Over the past year, productivity is up just 0.4 percent compared to average annual growth of 2.2 percent from 1947 through 2014.