WASHINGTON — Non-farm business sector labor productivity increased at a 9.5 percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the largest gain in productivity since the third quarter of 2003, when it rose 9.7 percent.
Output increased 4 percent and hours worked decreased 5 percent in the third quarter of 2009.
From the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2009, non-farm business output fell 3.5 percent and hours worked fell faster, 7.5 percent, resulting in a productivity increase of 4.3 percent. The four-quarter decline in hours was the largest in the series, which began in 1948. Non-farm business productivity rose 1.8 percent in 2008, and 2.6 percent per year on average during the 2001-2007 period corresponding to the last complete business cycle.
Unit labor costs in non-farm businesses fell 5.2 percent in the third quarter of 2009; the increase in productivity outpaced the increase in hourly compensation. Unit labor costs declined 3.6 percent over the last four quarters, the largest decrease since the series began in 1948.
Productivity increased 9.8 percent in the business sector in the third quarter of 2009. This was the largest increase in the series since the second quarter of 1972. Unit labor costs decreased 5.1 percent during the third quarter of 2009.
Manufacturing sector productivity grew 13.6 percent in the third quarter of 2009, as output increased 7.7 percent despite a 5.2 percent decrease in hours worked. This was the largest increase in the quarterly productivity series, which began in 1987. Over the last four quarters, manufacturing productivity increased 3.1 percent as output and hours declined 10.8 percent and 13.5 percent respectively. Manufacturing sector productivity increased 0.8 percent in 2008, and at an average annual rate of 4 percent from 2001 to 2007.
Manufacturing unit labor costs fell at a 7.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2009, but increased 2.3 percent over the last four quarters.