Productivity Bounces

Productivity bounced back nicely in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nonfarm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, increased at a 1.4% annualized rate last quarter. As FIGURE 1 shows, this was well above the third quarter’s pace of -0.2% and a welcome rebound after the cycle’s first negative quarter since the 3.5% drop in the fourth quarter of 2015.

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